Therapists Need Therapy, Too! My Therapy Experience
I have been a therapist for almost ten years. In those ten years, I have has the privilege of assisting my clients in their healing and growing processes. I have sat across from them, next to them, held their hand, and given hugs. I have been in the process with them and supported them on the journey. Sometimes I had some feelings of inadequacy as their guide because I lacked some experiences which I felt would help me to have a better understanding of certain situations. What I didn't know at the time, I was able to learn. At this point in my career, I realize I am a better therapist because of the experiences I have had and the self-work I have done.
I have read many self-help books, participated in group chats, attended conferences and retreats. And while all of this things were pivotal to my healing journey, there was one experience I had been putting off.
This year, I decided it was time I went to therapy.
They call us the wounded helpers. As therapists, we can be exposed to some pretty traumatic experiences through the lens of those we serve. These experiences may trigger our own issues and if not dealt with, can lead to a downward spiral. I had been thinking about therapy for a couple of years but had some reservations. It's not that I didn't believe I would benefit from it. I knew it would be helpful. I just wasn't so sure of a few things:
1. Why get a therapist when I do this everyday? I believed they would tell me things I already knew
2. Several of my friends are therapists. I figured I could speak to them and save some money. I remember sharing this thought with my friend who quickly reminded me that loved ones cannot be therapists for the people they love. The whole ethical obligation and objectivity part. Ugh!
3. I wasn't sure I was ready to open myself up in that way. I didn't have an issue with speaking to a stranger but I was concerned about whether I would find a therapist who I would gel with. I wanted to be sure I felt safe to expose my inner thoughts and confident I would be supported, even through resistance. Building a relationship is an important factor in therapy and I knew I needed someone who would be able to call me on my ish and still allow me some grace.
I decided to take the leap and make some phone calls. I started seeing my therapist a couple months ago and things have been good so far. The first session was about building rapport and I spent the whole 50 minutes crying (damn hormones). When I left, I felt depleted. I needed the release. I needed to cry and not be or feel judged. I was afforded that. You see, therapy is a form of self-care. My spirit had guided me on the journey of healing for a couple years now and going to therapy was the next step. We all have aspects about ourselves that we could work on or improve. I have some patterns I would like to change and some beliefs I need to make amends with. I also knew being on the other side of the room (as a client and not as the therapist) would help me to gain a more empathetic understanding of what my clients go through when they meet with me.
The therapeutic experience can be scary but also liberating. I feel like a caterpillar in the cocoon phase, just waiting to become a butterfly. I know therapy will support me on my journey and I plan to continue therapy for as long as I need to.
If you are a therapist, in the helping profession (EMT, physician, nurse, teacher, counselor, aid, etc) or a human being, I encourage you to give therapy a try.
Here's how you can find a therapist:
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