Embracing Our Core Competencies

Embracing Our Core Competencies

How Would It Change the Practice of Therapy?

By Stefan Hofmann

November/December 2021

What should be different as we train the next generation of therapists? Which, if any, ideas in the field do we need to retire as we move forward? Competent trainers will eventually ask themselves these questions. And here, Stefan Hofmann—whose widely disseminated research on CBT and contributions to the DSM have shaped the way many of us practice—offers some surprising answers.

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Good therapists, even those with drastically different approaches, have a similar convergence of skills, or core competencies. They know how to talk to people. They know how to see the world from their clients’ viewpoints. They know how to solve problems. They know how to be empathic and feel the struggle, and then find ways of moving beyond it to get clients out of stuck points by, for example, changing maladaptive habits or thinking patterns. It’s not a very large list of things to be good at really, and thankfully, our training programs are moving toward identifying these to our students.

Simultaneously, we need to step away from tribal fights in psychotherapy. Rather than thinking in terms of what training each of us has, let’s embrace a move toward a more liberal philosophy about the best tools we can use for our clients and how to combine them in the best possible way for a given person. It’s analogous to…

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