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wounded healers and sub optimal performance jaime armstrong gretchen naclerio mhs 6620

Wounded Healers and Sub-optimal PerformanceJaime ArmstrongGretchen NaclerioMHS 6620

wounded healers
Wounded Healers

-The concept of a “wounded healer” dates as far back as 25,000 years ago.-A degree of empathy that allows the therapist to be a “fellow-sufferer”-A therapist who has “been there” helps them to relate to clients who “are there.”-The counterargument is that a therapist does not have to experience everything in order to relate to a client.

positives and negatives
Positives and Negatives
  • Positive concept of being a Wounded Healer is that your wounds can be integrated into who the counselor is as a person.
  • Negative concept of being a Wounded Healer is that the wounds that have not been healed and worked through will limit the extent a counselor can assist a client.
  • Another negative concept is that an unhealed wound may also hinder the counselor in relation to re-experiencing the wound.
Being a Wounded Healer is compared to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs.
  • Our lowest unfulfilled need is usually the strongest motivator.
  • Example: Sitting in class hungry
Engagement in the Counseling Process
  • Know yourself
  • Individual Counseling is recommended
  • You don’t have to be “sick” to benefit from counseling
  • Knowing your self and motives will lessen the chance of using clients to meet your own needs.
rationale for personal therapy among counselors in training
Rationale for Personal Therapy Among Counselors in Training
  • Counselors can block the progress of a client because they feel uncomfortable with the discussion
  • Counselors can benefit from being a client to assist in their own introspect
  • Counselors can understand the power differential of client and therapist and know how to react
  • Self-disclosure and increased self-understanding can assist with self-acceptance and acceptance of others
  • Important to Remember: Counselors should be mirrors not sponges
research findings on trainees in counseling
Research Findings on Trainees in Counseling
  • Post-Kammer and Davis (1986)
    • Sampled 210 students, 70% had take at lest one counseling class
    • 48% of sample reported being in counseling before entering the program
    • 61% of the sample believe counseling should be a requirement for graduation
  • Fouad, Hains, and Davis (1990)
  • Investigated if counselors believe counseling should be a graduation requirement
  • Within a 106-person sample, 66% endorsed counseling
  • Those who endorsed were more likely to have positive counseling experiences than those who opposed the idea.
  • Peebles (1980)
    • This study rated counselors on their empathy, warmth, and genuineness in sessions.
    • The study found that there is a significant relationship between the number of hours the therapist had spent in therapy and their ability to display empathy and genuineness.
the cons
The Cons
  • Requiring a counselor to attend counseling is similar to having court-ordered clients
  • This results in tired counselors, unchanged clients, and wasted time
  • A common belief is that supervisors should counseling interns
  • Using therapists’ time and expertise to deal with nonessential problems
  • Cost students would incur

The Cons


The Power DifferentialCounselors all have needs too- How do we choose to meet them?Clients assume counselors:* professional * will help them * influence them in positive way * understand their worldview * give solutions compatible with their values* the expert

Counselors should not take advantage of these assumptions and be sensitive to the power that clients give you.
  • What you say can have a long lasting impact.
  • Assess your motivations
  • Be respectful of the trust you are given
  • Do not fear confrontation,

but do it having the best

interests of your clients.

gon alves m salgado j 2001
Gonçalves, M. & Salgado, J.(2001).

Counselors are viewed as experts but the clients should be considered to be “experts in the meanings that they give to the events in their own lives (p.372)”

“…when a person asks for counseling or psychotherapy, in one way or another, he or she feels the need to create some changes in the meaning of his or her life (p.372).”

“However, if the psychotherapist imposes a specific way of interpreting the person, this can have a negative outcome (p.372).”

“…the problem is not only the modification of meaning, but also the empowerment of the client, a question remains…(p.372).”:

“how to respect the expertise of the person?”

“The counselor should be more of an expert in the process of therapy than in the productof it (p. 372).”

It is a collaboration because the client is offering the content we help him or her to understand its meaning.

Gonçalves, M. & Salgado, J.(2001).

  • Human diversity and cultural diversity greatly affect the counseling process.
  • Becoming self-aware of your own values and worldview is necessary so you know when they are affecting counseling.
  • “It is critical to recognize how… life experiences affect one’s self-concept and perception of the world (MacCluskie, 2001, p. 69).”
a model of the origin of human diversity
A Model of the Origin of Human Diversity


Universal characteristics

Example: Central nervous system

Cultural characteristics

Example: gender, race, ethnicity

(any more?)

Individual Characteristics

Example: uniqueness

(MacCluskie, 2001)

Possible Answers:

Age, ability/disability, spiritual tradition, sexual orientation, SES

professional genograms enhancing professional identity and clarity magnuson 2000
Professional Genograms:Enhancing Professional Identity and Clarity(Magnuson, 2000)
  • The professional genogram can be used with counselors in training, advanced students, entry-level license candidates, and experienced counselors to examine their professional ancestry.
  • “we are the sum total of all the teachers and mentors we have worked with, all the classes and workshops we have attended, and all the books we have read, movies we have watched, and experiences we have lived (p.400)”
  • The genogram can help counselors “examine the chronology of influences, elements of divergence and convergence, patterns, voids, and observable manifestations when they worked with clients (p.400).”
exploring ourselves and our motives summary
Exploring Ourselves and Our Motives:Summary
  • Be aware of your own internal reactions to concerns and issues clients bring to you.
  • Your reactions to clients can range from intensely positive to intensely negative.
  • If you are self aware it will reduce the likelihood that those reactions will be detrimental to your clients.
  • To become self aware you can become a client

as well as explore your motives regularly.

  • MacCluskie, K.C. and Ingersoll, R.E. (2001). Becoming a 21st Century Counselor. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thompson.
  • Magnuson, S. (2000). The professional genogram: enhancing professional identity and clarity. The Family Journal: Counseling and Therapy for Couples and Families. 8(4). 399-401.
  • Miller, G.A., Wagner, A., Britton, T.P., & Gridley, B.E. (1998) A framework for undersanding the wounding of healers. Counseling and Values 42(2) 124-132.
  • Gonçalves, M. & Salgado, J. (2001). Mapping the multiplicity of self. Culture & Psychology. 7(3). 367-377.
  • Trusty, J., Ng, Kok-Mun, & Watts, R.E. (2005). Model of effects of adult attachment on emotional empathy of counseling students. Journal of Counseling and Development. 83(1). 66-77.