Therapy For The Therapist
During the first semester of my Graduate School experience, I was encouraged by my Program Director to consider getting into counseling as a way to help me cope with the cultural differences I faced and make my transition, living in a new place, an easier process. I took that advice without hesitation and was very lucky to have found a therapist that “fit” me well. I felt very comfortable with him as he took the time to not only listen to what my presenting concerns were, but he also took the time to learn about me, my background and my culture. I never felt judged, never felt shamed. Fantastic way to gain and maintain rapport.
That therapist eventually left and I had decided that I was okay enough to not follow through with continued therapy. That was, until I started a class called Counseling Process Lab (CPL). Very early in this class, I discovered that I had several core issues I thought were resolved, that were popping up in a fierce way. I realized the impact it was having on me, my performance and my perception of myself and I decided to get back into therapy. I honestly believe that this was a great lesson in why the therapist needs therapy. I was happy to have learned that lesson and never neglected my own emotional health.
As I began my journey into the professional world of work, I began to discover a lot more about myself. I learned a lot more about my strengths and weaknesses and also my points of vulnerability. I began, once again, to struggle with some personal issues and was aware of how it affected my life. Sometimes I tend to think, “I can deal with this, I know what to do, what to think, what to say.” But in reality, sometimes I do not know, and that is okay. I reached out to my former therapist, asked for a reference and I followed up with it. Again, it was a decision I did not regret.
I must admit, at first, I wished that I had not informed the therapist of my profession because I thought I would be judged. Contrary to that, I was relieved to gets words of encouragement and support for reaching out to get help for myself. This therapist needed therapy and to neglect that would have meant neglecting my ability to be efficient and ethical. I struggled through the first part of therapy, but after crossing that hurdle, I had a healthy outcome.
As persons in the helping profession, I believe it is very important to not only be aware of our own struggles, but to also remind ourselves that when we are healthy for ourselves, we are healthy for our clients. We are first and foremost human beings before being a therapist, why then should we neglect our human needs to be heard, reassured, confronted, challenged and encouraged?
I encourage you to seek out self care this week by thinking about what you need and making the effort to reach out to those that can help. As we tell our clients, in cases of emergency, self harm or suicidal thoughts please call 911 or your local crisis hotline.
Photo credit to keepcalmstore on Etsy
Callender, K. (2013). Therapy For The Therapist. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 22, 2015, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/lessons/2013/07/therapy-for-the-therapist/