When a Therapist Needs to Talk:
Regular readers of this blog know that I spend a lot of time discussing therapy in its many forms. We’ve discussed some of the most popular schools of psychology, the process of therapy and we’ve even looked at particular techniques and interventions. Through this process, I hope I have been able to demystify therapy and help encourage people to seek out help when they need it.
Over the past year my life has become increasingly more complicated. I basically work the equivalent of two fulltime jobs. I spend my days as the director of a large juvenile detention and treatment center; at night I see clients in my private practice; I write for the blog and run the website (with the able assistance of my webmaster…my sister Laurie) and still try to maintain some semblance of a normal family life (did I mention that I also have a two hour daily commute?). There’s a lot of pressure here, but my passion for helping people coupled with my hard-won time management skills have enabled me to keep all those balls in the air and become successful in all these roles.
Recently however, I had another straw thrown on the proverbial camel’s back when I was diagnosed with cancer. It was at that point I noticed some things were beginning to slip. As a therapist, I find it fairly easy to listen to my clients and maintain an emotional detachment that allows me to help them to rationally analyze their problems and arrive at workable solutions. However, when you’re dealing with your own problems it’s almost impossible to remain emotionally objective. Solutions that would be immediately apparent when dealing with a client have a way of eluding you when you’re stating into the face of your own demons. That’s why I decided that I needed a trained professional to help me sort out my own feelings and priorities and thus, I have begun seeing my own therapist.
I am extremely lucky to have a very gifted colleague whom I admire and for whom I have enormous respect. She has been watching the above developments over the past year, so she’s familiar with most of my situations. I don’t have the words to describe how relieved I was, that when I reached out to her for help, she immediately agreed to take me on as a client. We’ve had one session so far and while it was productive it’s also apparent that there is a lot of work that still needs to be done, especially while I’m dealing with this whole cancer bug-a-boo.
I’m going to be very honest; the world looks a lot different when you’re on the other end of the “couch.” I have a much deeper appreciation for how uncomfortable and difficult it can be for a client to bare their soul and be brutally honest with themselves and the therapist. We all have some dark corners of the mind that we would prefer to remain in shadow, but for therapy to be successful one has to be willing to turn on the lights and sweep the cobwebs from those corners. That process is messy, uncomfortable and frequently emotionally draining, but it is also incredibly liberating. I know that I’m going to be a much better therapist for my own experience. And thank you Jen for your patience and your help.
Hoping you have an intentionally great day.