Perceived Professional Gains of Master's Level Students Following a Person-of-the-Therapist Training Program: A Retrospective Content Analysis


  • We thank our trainees who showed courage and persistence going through the intense process of POTT and trusted us to help them grow. We admire them for stepping up to the plate when facing the challenge of embracing their humanity. We also thank Dr. Harry Aponte for the once in a lifetime opportunity to train with him and for his endless wisdom. We are grateful for his guidance and advice in developing this manuscript. Finally, we express our gratitude to Dr. Maureen Davey for her continuous support and her feedback on drafts of this manuscript.


The Person-of-the-Therapist Training (POTT) is a program designed to facilitate clinicians' ability to consciously and purposefully use themselves at the moment of contact with their clients in order to connect, assess, and intervene effectively. This qualitative study explored the experiences of 54 master's-level students who were enrolled in an accredited marriage and family therapy program in the United States and examined their perceived professional gains following a 9-month POTT course. Content analysis of trainees' reflections which they wrote at the end of the training revealed 6 primary themes: (a) increased awareness, (b) emotions, (c) improved clinical work, (d) humanity and woundedness, (e) meta-awareness, and (f) factors that contributed to the learning process. Findings suggest that key outcomes of this training curriculum are congruent with its stated goals. Clinical and training recommendations are additionally provided.

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