“There’s no weakness as great as false strength.” ~
When I worked as a mental health professional, it was brought to my attention that many of us in the field of psychology were drawn there by personal pain, and the genuine desire to provide empathy and direction to others. That is, many of those in the mental health field arrived there with their own neuroses. If we can avoid self reproach, this shared suffering often allows for the offering of heartfelt healing from the seat of personal truth.
So, when is there an urgency for a therapist to seek therapy for him or herself?
While reading “Therapy for Therapists” by Steven Reidbord, M.D., in Psychology Today, I found a great emphasis on the importance of perspective. It stated twice over the significance of providing quality psychological safekeeping having been on the other side of the couch. Although, it doesn’t always promise a more empathetic and successful approach.
“Therapy for Therapists” by Steven Reidbord, M.D., in Psychology Today, I found a great emphasis on the importance of perspective. It stated twice over the significance of providing quality psychological safekeeping having been on the other side of the couch. Although, it doesn’t always promise a more empathetic and successful approach.
“Several commenters on the NY Times blog believe the therapist’s own therapy encourages humility, and may decrease errors based on hubris and unexamined countertransference:
We are to be one of the self monitoring professions, responsible in a unique way as the stewards of our treatment with our clients…. Having our own issues worked with… goes a long way toward ensuring a unique quality of care.
I would be very wary of a therapist who had never sought therapy for him or herself. To me it would smack of an “I don’t need it – it’s for messed up folks like you” attitude.
I am also frequently shocked by the stories my patients will tell me about being in therapy with someone who clearly hasn’t worked on their issues. It can be very damaging to a patient…”
This insight provided clarity as I was struggling with a great deal of secret keeping and shame at the time. As a behavioral technician who was practicing Applied Behavioral Analysis, as well as operating as a Suicide Prevention Advocate and crisis volunteer, I felt unworthy to be a facilitator of care having entered psychotherapy for a mood disorder myself. However, this article not only demonstrates a general perspective toward wholeness and alleviates that (sometimes self-induced) stigma, but emphasizes the benefit of self-inventory from the academic platform of research. In addition, it highlights exhaustive self-care as a professional priority, and personal responsibility for one’s own wellness and behavior.
Most importantly, we must fulfill our ethical obligation as practitioners of protection to lead by example before daring to assist others. If nothing else, talk therapy can certainly serve as a homework assignment to gather insight on the likes and dislikes regarding the various methods of intervention and counsel, as well as nurture the all too infamous dwindling interpersonal skills often associated with psychiatry.
Rather than run amok with fears of social consequence or career compromise, we must provide a voice that demonstrates advocacy of self in order to be a more finely tuned mover of mountains.
**If you’re a mental health survivor or mental health provider and want to tell your story – please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!**
For more excellent insight and entertainment through a collaborative approach to all things mental health, including a guest post from yours truly, visit the Blunt Therapy Blog by Randy Withers, LPC! For additional perspectives on suicide prevention from master level mental health providers visit, 20 Professional Therapists Share Their Thoughts on Suicide!
In collaboration with Luis Posso, an Outreach Specialist from DrugRehab.com, Deskraven is now offering guides on depression and suicide prevention to its readers. For more information on understanding the perils of addiction visit, Substance Abuse and Suicide: A Guide to Understanding the Connection and Reducing Risk! In addition, for a comprehensive depression resource guide from their sister project at Columbus Recovery Center visit, Dealing with Depression!