“Psychotherapy Clients as…Humans” Comments, Page 1

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11 Comments on “Psychotherapy Clients as…Humans”

  1. Hello
    An interesting and necessary review. In terms of individual and the collective perspective conjured by a ‘case’ in a professional context, Hodges’ model is a great tool to balance (and contrast!) INDIVIDUAL-GROUP, OBJECTIVE-SUBJECTIVE views.

    There’s an associated blog ‘welcome to the QUAD’ which has recently considered effectiveness, efficiency and person-centredness:


    The model’s four knowledge care domains each has a web resource, this page includes mental health, therapies, psychology…


    Best regards

    Wigan, Lancs, UK

  2. Hi Isabella,

    Fancy meeting you here. (For others reading this, Isabella and I have met on her own blog.) It seems like a good article but the writer doesn’t seem to understand the radicalism of dealing with a person rather than a case.

    If psychotherapist don’t tick off symptoms, then there is no diagnosis. If there is no diagnosis there is no therapy.

    What then? The therapist would be another human being (I take it that ‘human phenomena’ are people like you and me). We would have human beings meeting, talking together and trying not to hide perhaps (eg behind roles and checklists). A consummation devoutly to be wished!

  3. Hello and nice to meet you here, Peter and Evan.

    I’ll check out the model, Peter.

    Evan, I agree with you that this is radical, and will re-read the article to see whether Etzi feels the same way. However, there are many therapists who do not put much emphasis on diagnosis (or who, like my therapist, vehemently oppose it).

    One literal translation of the Greek-derived word “therapy” is to attend. No diagnosis is needed for that, is it?

  4. What sums this post up for me is the statement, “As a psychotherapist, it is my job to work to understand this particular child’s reasons for lying.” By learning how the client thinks and the reasons for his actions allows for a more accurate diagnosis. Yes, there are symptoms that may point directly to a diagnosis, but it must be remembered that there is almost always underlying issues in every case.

    Psychotherapy, after all, is a process of intentional (human)discovery: for the psychotherapist, clues for treatment; for the client, self actualization.

  5. Hi Isabella! What a lovely surprise to see you! (note for others – I met Isabella, as indeed I met Evan, through their blogs)

    I like your conclusion very much. For me the heart/soul/important bit of therapy is observing and listening with a kind of compassionate curiosity. Not as an ideal, but as what works.

  6. Linda, I like how you bring in the notion of discovery. Discovery can imagined on a continuum. On the one end is completely open-minded curiosity: “Whatever we find under the next layer, let’s look at it and learn about it”. On the other end of the continuum, discovery is very goal oriented, the way it is in research, “We need to find out more about A, B and C, and we won’t look at X, Y and Z.” Interestingly enough, re-reading your comment, it almost looks as if in your scenario, the therapist does the latter and the client does the former. Do I understand this correctly?

  7. Hi Isabella. The therapeutic process should be goal oriented for both the the therapist and the client.

    The therapist does not know her client upon first meeting. She must therefore, intently set herself on a course of discovery as to the whys and hows of her client. She may already see diagnostic criteria, but there is always more.

    The client, however, believes he does not know why things are the way they are and looks to his therapist for answers. What he finds however, is more about himself (self discovery) which in turn leads him to his own therapeutic recovery process.

    I hope this answers your question. Thank you for asking.


  8. Hi Linda – thanks for your reply! It’s always nice to have conversations go with a blog post.

    You talk of “the why’s and how’s of the client”. Perhaps we could say that Etzi adds the “who”, or concentrates on it.

    You also say, “she may already see diagnostic criteria but there is always more”. This is part of the art of therapy. When I have someone come in complaining of sleeplessness, lack of interest in her love life, and a reluctance to leave home even for work, it’s easy to say to myself, well, that’s probably depression. It’s harder to just take in that information and stay curious: Who is this person? What is the shape of her life?

  9. I was so pleased to the discussion of some of my ideas in the article. I teach graduate students and am constantly torn between teaching them how to use DSM and diagnostic criteria responsibly, and the art of therapy. Two very different projects, which may actually cancel each other out, I don’t know. I don’t think they have to but it sure isn’t easy trying to articulate how to do both well and at the same time.

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