Has Your Therapist Been to Therapy?
As human beings living in a fast-paced, results-oriented culture, most of us have become quite adept at coping with, and overcoming, a certain degree of pressure and stress. We have trained ourselves – both consciously and unconsciously – to contend with the challenges of daily life. But some circumstances or combinations of events can push us beyond the limits of what we can handle effectively. We all have our breaking points.
Fortunately, help is available in the form of professional counseling and psychotherapy. Countless individuals have found the help and guidance of a professional therapist to be invaluable in their quest to regain control of their lives and overcome situations that felt beyond their ability to control.
A professional therapist is someone with whom we can openly discuss our problems, express our feelings, and talk about whatever we wish with virtually no limitations. Here is a person who really listens and tries to understand us, regardless of how much we have to say and how painful and terrible it may be.
Of course, therapists are as human as the rest of us. They face all of the challenges in life that you and I experience every day. So, where does a therapist turn for help before they reach their breaking point?
The Necessity of Therapist Self-Care
While professional counselors and therapists may be quite skilled at compartmentalizing and keeping their clients difficulties separate from their own lives, they still need to release the emotional turmoil and pain they help people deal with every day.
Not only this, but therapy can a very solitary profession. This may seem counterintuitive, given that therapists spend the majority of their days seeing clients. However, therapy is all about the client not the therapist. And therapists often don't enjoy the time to process their professional experiences with colleagues that other professionals take for granted.
Any therapists are actively involved in support and consultation groups in order to process their professional experiences and enjoy the camaraderie of like-minded individuals. Others make sure to take vacations, practice meditation, spend time outdoors, and engage in other activities that provide them a sense of renewal.
But, as for most of us, quite often these endeavors are not enough
especially when a therapist is faced with a personal crisis. In these cases, an aware therapist seeks professional counseling or psychotherapy just like their clients.
Psychotherapy for Therapists
Now, it may seem strange to think of a psychotherapist going to another therapist. But, in truth, therapy for psychotherapists is not only normal and natural, but necessary. In fact, many states require therapists to attend therapy for a certain period of time prior to receiving their license.
This is akin to the old adage, "physician, heal thyself." In fact, if thought about for any length of time, it becomes difficult to imagine that a therapist could be truly effective helping others if they had not done an adequate amount of work on themselves first.
Likewise, for a therapist to truly be empathetic it is only natural that they have gone through psychotherapy themselves. Knowing how a client feels is only possible by being one.
Lastly, given that therapists must face the same challenges in life as the rest of us (relationship difficulties, the death of loved ones, mid-life transitions, etc.), it would be difficult to believe in their abilities let alone the efficacy of the profession as a whole if therapists didn't go to therapy for same reasons their clients seek help.
So, if you or someone you know is considering professional counseling or therapy, make sure to ask any prospective therapists whether or not they attend therapy. Doing so may not only lead to some practical and interesting discussions, but will also give you an idea of whether or not the therapist practices what they preach and values the profession they've embraced.
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For more information contact:
Haleh Rambod, M.A., MFT
2111 Geer Road, Suite 505-507
Turlock, CA 95382
4100 Moorpark Avenue, Suite 106
San Jose CA, 95117