December 18, 2012 People

Readers Respond: December 18, 2012

What Makes a Clinician?

In the Oct. 30 issue, the juxtaposition of the reminder about knowledge in statistics as a new clinical certification requirement effective Sept. 1, 2014 (on page 3), with the "Readers Respond" column beginning on page 2, highlights the curious path of preparation and training we, as members of a basically clinical profession, have chosen.

This particular "Readers Respond" column consists of 16 letters, all praising "Walled Off" (Sept. 18), Editor-In-Chief Gary Dunham's autobiographical account of his experience with a persistent stuttering problem that began in childhood. This may be the greatest response to a piece ever published in the Leader. The emotional content of Dr. Dunham's piece empathically engaged the readers who submitted letters and, possibly, many who did not. All told, it is hard to imagine that the ability to be empathic to those who have suffered from feelings of alienation provoked by a communication problem—recognized as a critical element of skillful clinical functioning—would be better honed into an effective tool by a required knowledge of statistics than a required knowledge of counseling. Yet, that is what we must believe if we require knowledge of statistics but not of counseling.

Is not the skill to smooth the clinical relationship into one that better encourages and supports client change to communicate and live more as they wish as essential to the formation of clinicians as that of measurement? 

—Ellen-Marie Silverman
Milwaukee, Wis.


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