Psychotherapists' experience

Working as a psychotherapist is not without a risk. Although their experiences with difficult clients are a risk factor for the development of professional discomfort and burnout syndrome, psychotherapists generally tend to downplay their experiences with clients or even devalue them as bothersome, counterproductive, and unprofessional. Psychotherapists who are exposed to strong client emotional states are generally not well prepared for this situation. They are often trained in psychotherapeutic openness and empathic attitudes, but not in the ability to protect themselves from vicarious experiencing in the sense of "vicarious traumatization." By seeing their own reactions as merely "noise" in the psychotherapeutic process, psychotherapists not only increase the risk of developing burnout syndrome, but also risk harming clients. We explore the lived experiences of psychotherapists with different client groups (e.g., depressed clients).


Roubal, J. (2015). Depressing together: Therapist’s experience in a therapy situation with a depressed client. In G. Francesetti (Ed.), Absence is the bridge between us (pp. 205-224). Intituto di Gestalt HCC.

Roubal, J. (2016). V depresi společně: klinické implikace kvalitativního výzkumu prožívání terapeutů s depresivním klientem. Psychoterapie, 10(3), 196-210.

Roubal, J. (2016). Vliv pacientovy deprese na psychoterapeuta: Klinická zkušenost, teorie a výzkum. Psychiatrie, 20(4), 74-78.

Roubal, J., & Řiháček, T. (2016). An adventure in grounded theory method: Discovering a pattern in the flow of a therapy process. In J. Roubal, P. Brownell, G. Francesetti, J. Melnick & J. Zeleskov-Djoric (Eds.), Towards a research tradition in gestalt therapy (pp. 100-123). Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Roubal, J., & Řiháček, T. (2016). Therapists’ in-session experiences with depressive clients: A grounded theory. Psychotherapy Research, 26(2), 206-219.

No description

You are running an old browser version. We recommend updating your browser to its latest version.

More info