Taking a career path in psychotherapy can be challenging and exciting. Besides theoretical and academic approaches, interacting with people and helping them determine and correct their dysfunctional behaviors require significant expertise. This set of skills is integrated with a lot of reading, work, and personal development. At the beginning of their profession, psychotherapists and counselors face myriads of challenges before they can attain proficiency. Additionally, one becomes poor at self-disclosure, denying them the chance to establish genuine therapeutic connections with their clients (Corey, 2017, p. 28). This paper discusses self-disclosure and countertransference, the two most significant impediments to successful counseling, which need to be addressed to benefit clients optimally.
As a starting counselor, an individual is too anxious and self-conscious, and, as a result, it may become difficult for them to be themselves, and this phenomenon is likely to impede their self-disclosure. The issue of self-disclosure is essential in this regard because anxious individuals tend to hide behind the professional facade restricting themselves to the fixed-job description (Corey, 2017, p. 30). This professional projection can limit their ability to form genuine connections with clients. Moreover, they occasionally go to the other extreme of letting out too much information. Therefore, such an excessive divulgence is likely to overburden patients inappropriately.
As such, it is paramount to define and judge an appropriate amount of self-disclosure to be productive in counseling. One way of keeping within the acceptable limits of divulgence is by relating only to the counseling session occurrences. By practicing the immediacy skill, one restricts themselves to revealing only what they are thinking at the time of therapy (Parth et al., 2017). Moreover, sharing persistent reactions promptly facilitates therapeutic progress while improving the relationship between the counselor and the client.
Apart from the difficulties with self-disclosure, working closely with clients also affects one personally, hence, is likely to trigger their vulnerabilities and countertransference. Individuals often find the problems defining their dynamics, making them susceptible to being overwhelmed by their clients’ psychological experiences. Countertransference depicts those emotional projections that therapists transfer to their patients (Corey, 2017, p. 31). It is a phenomenon that commonly occurs when therapists are triggered into emotional reactivity, hindering their ability to objectively address the client’s concerns because their issues are involved.
To this end, the beginning therapist must recognize the manifestations of their countertransference reactions to be a competent counselor. To achieve this, one must work with other specialists to help solve their emotional reactions. Failing to perform this act of personal exploration will risk them losing themselves further to their patients and using them to cater to their unfulfilled needs (Parth et al., 2017). Additionally, it is common knowledge that the therapists’ clients’ experiences are bound to affect them to a certain extent. Therefore, one’s therapy remains instrumental in empowering the recognition and management of countertransference reactions.
To conclude, novice therapists and counselors commonly face several hurdles before they can administer effective counseling. Such challenges as countertransference reactions and difficulties with self-disclosure are vital issues that one must address to become a competent counselor. Determining the appropriate level of self-divulgence is necessary to build genuine relationships with the clients, which is beneficial to the therapeutic process. On the other hand, recognizing the manifestations of countertransference is essential to ensure that the clients’ needs are catered to instead of addressing counselors’ unresolved issues.
Corey, G. (2017). Theory and practice of counseling and psychotherapy (10th ed, pp. 28-35). Cengage Learning.
Parth, K., Datz, F., Seidman, C., & Löffler-Stastka, H. (2017). Transference and countertransference: A review. Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic, 81(2), 167-211. Web.