How and/or why did you become a therapist?
I became a therapist by getting the necessary education required in order to be hirable as a therapist. Then I worked as one for awhile, while working on becoming licensed. Became licensed and started to work exclusively as a psychotherapist and as a couples counselor. Why? Well..15 years ago when I was thinking about what I wanted to do when I grew up I had a job in the wilderness therapy field and found myself admiring the quality of person that I perceived in the therapists I worked beside. I thought I want to be like them and I thought if one is to be a therapist (which I assumed to be a person who was going to help other’s live a good life and make sound decisions) then I thought I would learn a thing or two about how to live a good life.
What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?
It’s awesome to offer a service that is effective and have people appreciate it and pay you money for it.
What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?
I’m not sure what is unique because I don’t know how others are practicing. It is confidential and thus we never actually get to see how other people work. As for special, I think the understanding I have of how to assess a couple and help them become aware of the ineffective ways that each one of them is relating, positioning, communicating to the other and inform them of a more effective way to express themselves is special.
What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?
Don’t argue! When your partner has an idea they want you to understand, provide understanding. Understanding and agreeing are different concepts. I can provide evil people whom I may hate understanding. It in no way indicates I agree with their actions or statements. Understanding is something you give or provide. Avoid the critical stance first. No need to assume the moral authority or fall into the objectivity trap. Focus on the gist of the idea your partner is trying to express and give them some room to imperfectly express themselves. Relate to people as if they make sense first. Be curious and nonjudgemental about the ideas your partner would like to discuss with you.
What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?
It’s work for the client(s). It’s successful when the individuals are interested in expanding their perspective. It’s not successful if the clients remain focused on external change (i.e. their partners changing)
What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?
A mistake a therapist can make is having limited flexibility and uniqueness in their treatment or collaboration with individuals and ironically a mistake a therapist can also make is being too flexible in their treatment approach with couples. Breaking confidentiality is a big mistake.
You can learn more about Morgan Barber at www.counselingportlandme.com.