Articles by Katie Pesch, PhD

Katie is an early-career psychologist from the Counseling Psychology program at Iowa State University. She completed her doctoral internship at the University of North Carolina – Charlotte Counseling Center. Clinically, she is interested in individual and group counseling, using an integrative approach that encompasses trauma-informed, humanistic, psychodynamic, feminist, and relational-cultural theories. She is passionate about clinical and neuropsychological assessment, but also vocational assessment, as much of her graduate research centered around career development and vocational identity. She is now working as part of a consulting team in Minneapolis, specializing in psychological assessment applied to talent selection and leadership development.

The Power of a Therapist’s Authentic Human Presence

The Power of a Therapist’s Authentic Human Presence

Almost all developing therapists move through a phase of resisting ambiguity. The uncertain, variable nature of psychotherapy can be intimidating and leave you feeling like a novice with every new challenging case. I often wish for a map that would help me guide my clients on their paths from suffering to contentment.

But there’s a reason ambiguity is inherent in this work: Psychotherapy is relational in nature. It is part theory, education, and research, and part human connection. The latter is the source of ambiguity that can be difficult to move into as a beginning therapist, but it’s also central to effective therapy.

Common factors research highlights the importance of the therapeutic relationship above and beyond specific theoretical orientations [1]. It provides empirical evidence that the therapist’s authentic human presence within the therapeutic relationship is a key factor of change.