2 boys, about 14, stand next to an upturned bicycle. They seem to be looking at a minute part of the bike which is in the hands of one of the boys. Their impromptu repair job is occurring in a public place as other people are walking by.
© Vytas Stoskus, 2022

Psychotherapy: A Relationship Between a Therapist & a Therapissed-on?

Or does one just need a good friend?

Vytas Stoskus
7 min readDec 11, 2022

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An Outsider, A Heretic

Ever the outsider, I am a humanistic-existentialist psychologist trying to stay open to a variety of views & approaches midst the psychoanalysts whom I have grown to admire in a mutual support group of theirs which I joined a couple of years ago. The folks I studied with, worked with, & was friends with in the 1960s & ’70s were, like me, pioneers in a field dominated by Freudians & behaviorists. Our ways of working with clients are nothing like, & often quite opposed to, the work of psychoanalysts & behaviorists.

Because of what I’ve learned over the years, I’ve been providing the attendees of my workshops a list of the qualities of a good friend & another listing the qualities of an ideal psychotherapist or “helper”. Eventually it dawns on them that the 2 lists overlap so much that they may as well be one. Not coincidentally, an effective psychotherapist is a good friend, & to have good friends, one must be a good friend oneself.

Many will say that I’m pushing heresy in psychotherapy when I say that professionalism is a false front, is not authentic, & distances the therapist from the client. It’s been reassuring to learn that even many behaviorists & psychoanalysts…

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Vytas Stoskus

Social psychologist, psychotherapist (Worldwide thru Skype), conflict mediator; organizational, creativity, & unschooling consultant; Heretic, outside agitator.