On Becoming a Psychotherapist by Windy Dryden

By Windy Dryden

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I enjoy that involvement immensely, in part due to the efficiency of working with groups of people who, themselves, work with other individuals. Theoretically, I feel there is more ‘return’ for my time and energy. That it tends to be work at another level is an additional reason that I find it so satisfying: as clients, psychotherapists tend to be very sophisticated about change, complexity, and coping with life’s conflicts. They know, for example, from extensive personal experience, that ‘insight is not enough’ and that feelings change much more slowly than thoughts.

There was very little in the degree course which had much to do with people. There was a certain amount about aspects of behaviour, such as memory, learning, cognition and more about experiments, especially with rats in mazes, but it did not teach me much about people. Flugel—a well-known psychoanalyst who had written about Man, Morals and Society—and some lectures by Dr Hadfield on psychopathology. Professor Flugel displayed his humanness through his lectures and this helped me to see him as a person with attachments of his own.

Jerry’, as he came to be affectionately known to me, offered an invaluable role model—a bright and energetic mind, a sense of humour, and a deep sensitivity to his clients and his students. He taught me more than I can probably remember about the honour of inquiry and the politics of science. ’ When Al Bandura returned from his sabbatical, he and I also began to collaborate on a series of studies into cognitive and self-regulatory domains. I was using weight control as a convenient and measurable challenge, partly due to my experience (and struggles) with weight control in high school wrestling and weightlifting.

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