Safe and Effective Use of Self
Safe and Effective Use of Self (SEUS)
One of the defining competencies of psychotherapy practice, Safe and Effective Use of Self refers to the therapist’s learned capacity to understand his or her own subjective context and patterns of interaction as they inform his or her participation in the therapeutic relationship with the client.
It also speaks to the therapist’s self-reflective use of his or her personality, insights, perceptions, and judgments in order to optimize interactions with clients in the therapeutic process.
Psychotherapeutic traditions and practices related to the development of a psychotherapist’s safe and effective use of self in the therapeutic relationship are diverse.
Some applicants will have developed this competency while engaging in their own personal psychotherapy. Others will have taken courses that address use of self; these may include, for example, personal family history and dynamics, anti-oppression and diversity, power dynamics, relational boundaries, experiential practice as client, or interpersonal relationship development. Others may have engaged in a guided and reflective Indigenous practice, such as the four directional way. For some practitioners, this competency may also addressed in a particular form of clinical supervision.