The three legs of the practitioner's learning stool: Practice, research/theory, and personal life

Thomas M Skovholt, Michael T. Starkey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations

Abstract

The goal of this article is to introduce the many guides that serve as our knowledge base in the helping professions. Practitioners work with the complexity of human emotion, thought, and variability, which at times makes the work confusing. In order to deal with the confusion, the practitioner attends many years of school and intensive practical experiences to be optimally prepared to work with human beings. Even so, different philosophies exist as to what the best sources of practitioner knowledge are. Where should practitioners get their ideas? The academic culture suggests it should be science; the practitioner culture suggests reflection on practice; candid discussion with practitioners suggests that the therapist's personal life is the richest source of knowledge. This article argues that practitioner expertise is like a three-legged stool with each of the foregoing areas essential to optimal functioning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125-130
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Contemporary Psychotherapy
Volume40
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2010

Keywords

  • Effective practice
  • Evidence-based practice
  • Expertise
  • Therapy

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