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School tells you what to learn. In real life, you have to figure out WHAT TO LEARN.

In psychotherapy land, we are inundated with so many types of “whats and hows”, in the forms of trainings, workshops, articles, clinical studies. Much of the default approach taken is that it assumes that everyone needs to learn the same thing—because it is so-called “evidenced based practice.”

The End of Average… and the Beginning of Direction and Depth

This is in part due to a conflation between the nomothetic and idiographic levels of understanding. The nomothetic approach sees things “on average”, whereas the idiographic sees things from an “individual” level. For more on this, I highly recommend Todd Rose excellent and highly engaging book, The End of Average. I had to read it 3 times to fully absorb it’s implication of how we see the world.

When we survey participants in workshops, majority of therapists, even when they are receiving clinical supervision do not have a sense of direction of where they should go, what they should do to invest in their professional development efforts.

And if you take a look at the clinical supervision literature, it’s no surprise that supervision effects accounts for about 0-1% of client outcomes. This study finding has also recently been replicated by Jason Whipple and colleagues. [1]

The bottomline for us Deep Learners is this: We need to first figure out what to work before obsessing about the how, which the therapy marketplace predominantly likes to trade in.

We need to stretch out of our comfort zones, and into our learning zone, without tipping out into our panic zone.

For more about circle of development (COD), read this.

Here’s a sneak preview from our specially designed web-based workshop, Deep Learner. Here is Module 2 on the Problem of Lacking Direction and Depth.

Later in Module 2.2, we talked about leveraging your professional development efforts using the 80/20 rule. In Module 2.3, we talk about about the importance of both direction and randomness. And finally, we cover FOUR how-to TIPS relating to direction and depth:

  • TIP 2 a. Figure Out Where You Are Before When You Need to
  • TIP 2 b. Figure Out The “What” Before the “How”
  • TIP 2 c. Make Progress Visible
  • TIP 2 d. Measure Progress, Not Competence


Be part of the community of Deep Learners from all over the world on this 3-month journey laced with in-depth content gleaning not only from our turf in psychotherapy, but also from the learning sciences and expertise and expert performance literature.

If I may be so bold to say this, the Deep Learner curriculum is what I wished I’ve learned 16 years ago.

It’s a one-off payment with life-time access (yep, not one of those subscription-based type).

The next batch starts 6th of July, 2020 (MONDAY).

Closing Date: 3rd of July, 2020 (Friday).

Finally, if you are on the Frontiers list, check your inbox for an ultra-exclusive 25% discount code.

[1] Whipple, J., Hoyt, T., Rousmaniere, T., Swift, J., Pedersen, T., & Worthen, V. (2020). Supervisor Variance in Psychotherapy Outcome in Routine Practice: A Replication. SAGE Open, 10, 215824401989904. doi:10.1177/2158244019899047

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