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LETTER : Why therapists need therapy

It is not the job of a psychotherapist to "sort out other people's problems" but rather to enable clients to better understand how to sort them out for themselves ("Need therapy...?", 1 June). The difference is crucial, analogous to responding to starvation victims by giving them food rather than seeds and know how. To have lasting effect we need to do the latter.

Though many therapists continue in therapy themselves they are not "driven to it" by their clients. To work intimately and openly alongside another human being requires courageous and sustained self honesty, something that not many of us can aspire to without the support of therapy and supervision. We use these means to talk out our fears, questions and self-doubts, enabling us to be clear and present when we are with our clients.

M F Donovan