We live nowadays in a strange times. All the time I hear or see the advertisements of some courses in the domain of psychotherapy, coaching and in general psychology oriented domains which promise to the participants the mastery, that can be obtained on for example a week or so. This post is a reflection about this, lets call it, social phenomenon.
Very popular are nowadays the courses in the domain opf for example NLP and related subjects, that promise, the one will become professional practitioner or an agent of change in the course of one week. Now, is it really possible? Lets not go into the reflection on the subject, if people who teach it all, are themselves so good as they promise other to become. Lets just narrow this discussion to the good coaches and therapists, that really obtain great results. Is it possible to learn their skills in one week?
Many people promise to teach for instance Ericksonian Hypnosis in four or five days. There is vast amount of that kind of courses. My opinion is, that it is not possible, however this dopes not mean, that attending the seminars is pointless. I personally thing that You can not learn the attitude of some other person in one week at all, and there are few arguments for it.
First of all even Milton H. Erickson him self concluded, that to be a good hypnotist one has to go through the complete education in the field of mental health related profession, and at least ten years of private practice in the field of clinical psychology and psychotherapy.
Now, this seems to be reasonable approach. Basic education in one of the mental health professions gives the main background to work with a patient, and to basically have some idea what to do and what is going on. Now, what about the ten years period of practice? Research in psychology of creativity and in cognitive psychology on the processes of obtaining knowledge proves this point, showing exactly, that it is crucial for a person wanting to master a skill to practice it about 10 000 hours, which is the equivalent of ten years of practice.
Now, where in all this are these courses, lasting for five days or so? Well, when we look at the courses in general, they are not long at all. Even the recommended by American Psychological Association courses in Ericksonian Hypnosis or for example Cognitive Behavior Therapy lasts about two or three weeks in a row. Yes, but these are not the courses, that promise go create a master from a novice. There is a very important place of education incorporated into a practice. In my opinion the right approach is, to treat coursework as a guidelines and inspirations, for a development of ones own abilities as a therapist or a coach. In Europe the system of education for psychotherapists is a bit different. The basic course, which prepares the participant for the work as psychotherapist lasts for four years, and it includes the theoretical coursework, self-experience or psychotherapy, and supervision, apart form this, many times it requires from a participant to work in some place where psychotherapy is one of the basic tools of work . It is created in a way, to bring up the basic abilities in the beginning psychotherapists. And still it lasts for four years, this means, that there is even more required, for someone to become a master.
I personally am more found of the american system of education in psychotherapy, and the reason for it is, that it is far more individualized and one can follow unique path reflecting his own personality and preferences.
No matter where one study, in my opinion, he or she has to do far far more than to attend some course, and I would a specially avoid those seminars that promise miraculous. All these promises are more likely marketing tools in practice (most of the times used no very professionally by the way:)), than real intentions followed by the results.
To end this all with a summary, I would say, that one can become a master, but it needs to take time fulfilled with hard work, practice and education. There is no course, that will make this shorter. However many courses can be helpful in directing the work into proper directions. I will end this with one more sentence. Remember, when You observe Dr. Milton Erickson or Aaron Beck, or whoever else working, you most of the time see a person that have behind at least thirty years of continuing education in the field and the same amount of practice.
So let us all go to work, for the future mastery. :)