Monday, July 25, 2022

Master therapists have a tolerance of ambiguity and abiding curiosity

Increased cognitive complexity, another attribute that appears to be a key feature of strong therapists, is also deeply intertwined with identity development. In their qualitative study of peer-nominated “master therapists,” Jennings and Skovholt (1999) noted that one of the central characteristics of these master therapists is that they “value cognitive complexity and the ambiguity of the human conditions” (p. 6). Relating this finding to the overall literature on therapeutic expertise, they state, “A central tenet in this literature involves an embracing of complexity and reflecting on this complexity in order to grow professionally” (p. 9).

Forman, Mark D.. A Guide to Integral Psychotherapy (SUNY series in Integral Theory) . State University of New York Press. Kindle Edition. 

The ability to tolerate ambiguity and an abiding curiosity are hallmark characteristics of good therapists.

This cognitive complexity is the fourth skill of 21 in Cindy Wigglesworth’s model of Spiritual Intelligence. Here is what she writes: 

As we progress to the highest levels of development in this skill, we develop the ability to recognize elements of truth in conflicting points of view, embracing and even enjoying paradox and mystery, which are central to mysticism. Holding the tension of opposites can create “third options” which creatively take everyone to a new level.24

Wigglesworth, Cindy. SQ21: The Twenty-One Skills of Spiritual Intelligence (p. 57). SelectBooks, Inc.. Kindle Edition. 

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