They are willing to help me in any way. I feel understood and affirmed by them. Based on decades of my clinical experience and training, it's not just having people in our lives that supports our emotional and physical health. In fact, many people who are already in relationships enter therapy because they want to work on improving their relationships. It is that the practice of therapy should be a part of the training experience from the earliest practicable moment. Much ingenuity has gone into the planning of ways in which the trainee can enter into the experience of providing a helping relationship for another, early in his professional education. WHOSHOULDBESELECTED FORTRAINING? The problem of selecting candidates for training as therapists is a perplexing one indeed. It is doubtful if any therapeutic orientation has satisfactorily resolved the issue. In our own experience it would seem that while a beginning selection may be made upon certain minimal factors, a considerable amount of self-selection is desirable once training has begun. If a group is reasonably well selected at the outset, and if the training program is free and permissive, some will discover that therapy is not their special forte and will drop out. Others realize that the attitudes involved make too heavy a personal demand upon them. Such self-selection does not seem necessarily wasteful. As to the basis for minimal selection, we have found in our experience that we have tended to use much the same criteria as those which have been adopted by the American Psychological Association for the selection of clinical psychologists in general. Future articles will help you use fear to your advantage so that it doesn't stop you from living the life you deserve. For now, try this: I thank you, fear, for all you've done for me. SHAME IS Biological . AND POLITICAL We are biologically wired to experience shame--and for good reason. From an evolutionary perspective, our survival once depended on close cooperation with members of our group.

Violating certain codes of behavior made everyone less safe. Life was too harsh for an individual to survive alone, so being ostracized from your tribe usually amounted to a death sentence. An internal mechanism that alerts us to this danger--the danger of ostracism--therefore serves an essential purpose. That mechanism is shame. As Maslow realized, our need for belonging also includes our need to give and receive love. A major component for being loved and being able to love is having the ability to cultivate emotional intimacy. The word intimacy is derived from the Latin intimus, meaning inner or innermost. To be intimate with another is to have access to, and to comprehend, that person's innermost character. Philosopher Gabriel Marcel poetically defined intimacy: Even if I cannot see you, if I cannot touch you, I feel that you are with me. There's no question that emotionally intimate relationships deepens our feelings of belonging, helps us regulate our emotions, and add richness, purpose, meaning, direction, and focus to our lives. In fact, nothing else in life can really compare to the power and meaning our relationships have over our experience of life. We've all heard the expression that money can't buy happiness. In large part this is because most things in life outside of our relationships can't fill us up or gratify us as much as can the people with whom we share our lives. Emotional intimacy is a complex concept; These criteria are rather vague, to be sure, but they represent the present stage of our knowledge of what is required as a basis for becoming a therapist. As stated by the committee of the APA, the characteristics which it is desirable that a person possess are as follows: 1. Superior intellectual ability and judgment. Originality, resourcefulness, and versatility. Fresh and insatiable curiosity;

Interest in persons as individuals rather than as material for manipulation -- a regard for the integrity of other persons. Insight into own personality characteristics; Sensitivity to the complexities of motivation. Tolerance: unarrogance. Its function is to protect us, to motivate us to act in accordance with community values, preserving both the community and our personal safety. Mental and social isolation are even today a sort of death sentence, though no tigers are involved. Today, shame also serves the unhelpful role of maintaining our culture's inequitable social structures. It acts as a form of social control that regulates our behavior to conform with cultural values and punish nonconformity. It is both imposed by others and absorbed by us, motivating a drive toward conformity to avoid shame. This means that people with marginalized identities are set up, to a greater degree, with shame triggers. When we step outside the gender boxes, for example, we are shamed for it. Almost every person raised as a boy has had the experience of knowing they were expected to man up and hide their emotions. Almost every person raised as a girl has the experience of knowing they were expected to be accommodating and nurturing. When we don't fit into those binary boxes, we are teased, bullied, or otherwise punished for breaking the rules. Close emotional intimacy in a relationship is felt when we feel so safe and secure that we are able to share our true feelings, be our authentic selves, and reveal our vulnerabilities to another person who, in response to us, provides us with genuine understanding, affirmation, and care. Emotionally intimate relationships are not just one-sided; So interdependency--the delicate balance between dependency and independence--is the hallmark of emotionally intimate relationships. Interdependency affords us the ability to be autonomous while at the same time dependent. Self-disclosure is necessary for cultivating emotional intimacy. Self-disclosure is the actual act of sharing with another person our innermost being--or essence.

This means revealing our fears, self-doubts, and weakness as well as our strengths and competencies. And the more often we share our intimate feelings with others, the more intimate our relationships will be. Although this might seem obvious to some, for others revealing intimate parts of themselves feels counterintuitive and even foreign, because they fear that doing so will make them appear weak. It's tough to open up to others when we're afraid of what people might see or think. Ability to adopt a therapeutic attitude; Acceptance of responsibility. Tact and cooperativeness. Integrity, self-control, and stability. Discriminating sense of ethical values. Breadth of cultural background -- educated man. Deep interest in psychology, especially in its clinical aspects. It may at some point be possible to base the selection of potential therapists upon criteria established by research. There is at the present time one study in progress in which an extensive battery of personality tests were given to a group of VA Personal Counselors prior to their intensive training in therapy, and ratings later obtained as to the subjects' effectiveness as therapists. It was the hope that certain personality configurations might be found which would be indicators of high potentiality as therapists. Communal norms police not just our behavior, but our bodies, too. Most of us feel the weight of beauty expectations and shame for not measuring up. Even if we think we do meet the bar, we may fear we can't maintain it (explaining the rise of Botox injections among younger users) or that we're not seen and valued for more meaningful traits. Shame feeds on the very human need for acceptance and love. We care about what other people think. We want to look good in their eyes.

We can all recall experiences of feeling rejected, diminished, and ridiculed. We learned to fear those feelings. We learned to change our behaviors or hide aspects of ourselves to seek approval and avoid shame. Our shame usually benefits someone. And if we weren't raised in an environment that modeled, supported, and encouraged honest communications, we simply don't know how to share our feelings and fears. Many psychologists believe that the kind of intimacy that emerges between people in online interactions is different than intimacy created offline and affirm that digital interaction redefines intimacy and reduces it to easy connections. When technology engineers intimacy, says one expert in social studies and technology, relationships can be reduced to mere connections. And then, easy connection becomes redefined as intimacy. And then there are other researchers who believe that whenever intimacy is made public it ceases to be intimacy--that it loses its status when it is advertised. Although there's a lot of debate regarding whether or not truly emotionally intimate relationships exist in the virtual world, one thing is for sure: we learn how to have emotionally intimate relationships from our early relationships, most notably our relationship with our early caregivers and our family of origin. These early relationships carry great importance, because they set the tone and foundation for all our future ones, including our digital relationships. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have had healthy early relationships. As infants, toddlers, young children, and adolescents, we all looked to our parents to meet our attachment and relational needs and to help us grow and mature emotionally so we could become independent enough to care and nurture the next generation. It's okay if most or even if all of your relationships are not as emotionally intimate as you would like them to be. At present writing this hope does not seem to be supported by the evidence. It is a field in which we may expect research to progress, though present subjective judgment would be that the training received is at least as important as the original personality configuration in determining whether an individual will become a good therapist. Perhaps the next step in research will be to investigate the organization of attitudes toward others, rather than personality structure, as a possible predictive tool. PREPARATION FORTRAINING INTHERAPY What background knowledge or experience is necessary or desirable for the person who is to be trained as a therapist? This is a question about which there have been sharp differences of opinion.