After a semester of watching psychotherapy sessions behind a one-way mirror, I feel like this has been the best qualification method I have experienced so far. During my training, I've read and heard vignettes, I have watched instructional recordings and watched TV shows about psychotherapy, I've done simulations, I have even done therapy myself, and I have brought verbatim transcripts of them to mentoring sessions. Nothing prepared me as well as watching a therapist in real time, connecting to the patient and the therapist in direct and indirect means, feeling the space between them, second guessing the therapist, shutting my eyes and listening without having to do anything, trying to assume and identify with both positions in the sessions at different moments of every session. I feel this was a very full and rich experience, which allowed me both the safety of distance from the situation, and the vivid vitality of connecting to it myself. Other training modes were either too partials, teaching technique from theory, or too flooding, not letting me process and reflect the finer nuances that fill the therapy room.
I think it is not by chance that I did not have similar experiences. Psychotherapy has not been taught to me as a craft. It has been passed to me part as science, with academic learning of theories, and part as art, with personal mentoring after experience. To teach a craft one must assume that there is A Way to Do It, a technique, and that there are skills and intuitions that must be acquired for it to be Done Well. Mimicking a skilled therapist from behind a mirror taught me psychotherapy as a craft.
Watching Prof. Dar, specifically was very interesting, as he has a very commonsensical, experience-near approach to therapy. With the patient, it seemed there are no theoretical obstacles or efforts to agree with conceptualizations against what is experienced. With the class, in after-session discussions when we students suggested fancy psychoanalytic concepts, Dar had a very clear measure of what is relevant or irrelevant to the patient experience. Psychodynamic concepts were still very helpful in the post-session discussion, when we guessed where the patient could be leading the process in future sessions and prepared for it, but these did not lead the process by themselves.