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Lack of motivation a convenient excuse?

Posted Jan 24 2008 12:00am
When I talk to therapists and ask why many (most?) patients are not succeeding in therapy over the long-term. I often here things like "you are not motivated enough" or "the moment is just not right" or "there are no cures" or "we just don't know enough about stuttering" or "you need to practise more". Could I not turn this around and blame relapse on the therapist because s/he was not able to motivate the patient hard enough or made practising unnecessary difficult due to bad advice?? Have you ever heard a therapist at a conference talking about their mistakes? I haven't to this day. I only heard talks about success, enriching personal development experiences for the patient, and so on. And they also revel in showing just how sensitive, caring, bonding, holistic, intelligent, hard working, smiling, and most importantly professional (what ever that term may mean?) therapist they are; attributes that, to put it mildly, people who stutter are not that interested in, all they want are results for them!

Here is my analysis. Yes, it is true that motivation plays an important role in long-term success. You do need extraordinary motivation. For example, I was absolutely motivated at each of my therapies, though not obsessively. Even a good therapist might not be able to motivate some patients. However, this argument even though it is correct to some degree is also a very dangerous argument, because mediocre therapists can use it as an excuse for their own failure. They can hide behind it. This is also true for non-professional therapists like the crackpot award winners that I nominated. A healthy advice would be: if you are a patient and you fail, look at yourself to find points of improvements; if you are therapist and your patient failed, look at yourself to find points of improvements!

And here is a challenge to all therapists: I will buy that therapist a drink who gives a talk with the topic "The mistakes I made and why they were mistakes"! I would even offer a meal, but a meal with might be too much punishment for the winner! :-)
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