The Client Who Changed Me
Stories of Therapist Personal Transformation
Routledge – 2005 – 232 pages
Although the impact that clients can have on therapists is well-known, most work on the subject consists of dire warnings: mental health professionals are taught early on to be on their guard for burnout, compassion fatigue, and countertransference. However, while these professional hazards are very real, the scholarly focus on the negative potential of the client-counselor relationship often implies that no good can come of allowing oneself to get too close to a client's issues. This sentiment obscures what every therapist knows to be true: that the client-counselor relationship can also effect powerful positive transformations in a therapist's own life.
The Client Who Changed Me is Jeffrey Kottler and Jon Carlson's testimony to the significant and often life-changing ways in which therapists have been changed by their patients. Kottler and Carlson draw not only upon their own extensive experience - between them, they have more than fifty years in the field - but also upon lengthy interviews with dozens of the country's foremost therapists and theorists. This novel work presents readers with a truly unique perspective on the business of therapy: not merely how it appears externally, but how practitioners experience it internally. Although these stories paint a complex and multi-layered portrait of the client-counselor relationship, they all demonstrate the profound and unexpected rewards that the profession has to offer.
About the Authors. From Clay to Fire: A Mythological Tale. Arredondo, The Client who Inspired her Therapist. Brown, A Spiritual Awakening. Carlson, Self-surgery to Remove the Transponder. Duncan, When Courage is Enough. Ellis, Learning From a Difficult Customer. Gray, Little Things Make a Big Difference. Hardy, Mister Black Doctor. Keeney, A Family of Pirates. Kirschenbaum, A Flood of Feeling. Kottler, About Last Night. Krumboltz, The Story of the Sun and the Wind. Lankton, Clients Tune Me Up. Love, The Broken Heart. Marlatt, A New Name. McCullough, The Lady Cloaked in Fog. Murphy, A Language of Shrugs. Neimeyer, Using Metaphors to Thaw a Frozen Woman. Oaklander, The Kitten that Roared. Pedersen, A Lesson in Humility. Pittman, An Affair with an Alien. Scharff, The Patient Who Taught Me to Be a Therapist. Walker, Finding Justice with a Sledge Hammer. Yapko, Caught in a Controversy. How Clients Change their Therapists. References. Contributors.
Jeffrey A. Kottler, Ph. D., is Chair of the Counseling Department at California State University, Fullerton and is one of the most prolific authors in the fields of psychology and education.
Jon Carlson, Psy.D., Ed.D., is Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Counseling at Governors State University, University Park, Illinois and a Psychologist with the Wellness Clinic in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.