Therapist self versus the real self

Psychotherapy is often a quite an intense emotional and relational event. There can be strong emotions expressed from the client and the relationship between client and therapist can be quite intense at times with also strong emotions being involved in it. This is OK for the client because they only have this one hour per week. But the therapist may have this 5 or 6 times a day with different clients for 4 or 5 days a week. A situation which is emotionally draining for the therapist and would quickly take its toll on the therapist if the Free Child did not protect itself.


I suggest that this is what unconsciously and inevitably happens in the therapist over time. It is automatic and the therapist cannot stop it. The Free Child in the therapist will automatically protect itself by withdrawing from the therapeutic relationship to cope with the emotional intensity of the therapy setting.

therapist self transaction Jpeg

So you end up with a situation where the client responds and relates to a therapist self that is created by the therapist. Again this is seen as a natural and inevitable thing for a therapist to do.

therapist self diagram Jpeg

The goal for the therapist is to desensitise the right amount

If they don’t desensitise then they will burn out and stop being a therapist. This therapist is overly impacted and transformed by the client.

 If they desensitise too much then PTSD like symptoms can develop (assuming they carry it into their life in general). Or they will become a clinical style of therapist where the client is just seen as a number and a means to get the pay check at the end of the week. Most clients will tend not to respond to this as the therapist will come across as cold and aloof.

If they desensitise the right amount then they become a resilient therapist who can stay in the business for long periods of time.

Resilience graph Jpeg

This works the other way as well. If the therapist and therapy are too brutal then the client’s FC will retreat in the same fashion.

Also if the therapy and therapist is overly sensitive and gentle then the client will tend to hyper sensitise and become ‘worse’ in that sense

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