People who are currently in therapy, and even people who have heard about therapy before, know about the experience of therapy from the client’s point of view. In an initial appointment, you’re asked a variety of questions so that the therapist can get to know you. In the following sessions, you work with the therapist to establish goals, learn strategies, and make progress towards achieving them. But have you ever wondered what it’s like being a therapist? Or what your therapist thinks of his or her job? This week in our “Ask the Therapist” series, the therapists are opening up about what they think of their careers.
What’s the most challenging part about being a therapist?
Tessa: “The most challenging part is feeling like you’re responsible for someone’s well being. We get some clients who are really hurting and struggling. There is definitely a sense of responsibility that we have to help them overcome challenges. Also, we want our clients to get better over time, but it’s not a perfect world. We want our clients to feel better and sometimes, that just doesn’t happen. Occasionally, people get worse and that’s always hard to be a part of. I love my clients’ success stories, but it’s difficult when not everyone is able to succeed.”
Danna: “As a therapist, I’m helping people manage difficult emotions. Dealing with people’s emotions can sometimes be heavy. Therefore, it’s crucial for me to manage my own self-care so I don’t get burned out after a long day. Another part of my job can involve dealing with serious subject matter that’s not always lighthearted and fun, so keeping balance is very important.”
Brittany: “For me, the most challenging part is all of the information, secrets, and difficult emotions that I have to be present for. There’s a great deal of emotional baggage that I hold on to for my clients. I contain it for them during the session, but sometimes, I need to decompress. It can be a lot to handle, so I make sure that I give myself the time to recharge.”
Dana K.: “Dealing with clients who are unmotivated is a challenging part about being a therapist. By unmotivated, I mean people who don’t really want to be in therapy, for example teens whose parents force them to attend therapy. Sometimes they might come in seeing me as the bad guy. When they start with one foot out of the door, it’s more difficult to build that connection necessary for growth. Nevertheless, I do my best to motivate them and get them on the right track.”
What do you enjoy the most about your work?
Danna: “I love that I never know what’s ahead of me each day. Even though I might be seeing the same people week to week, each day is different. Also, I feel like being therapist involves being part scientist, part detective, and part mother. There’s an art and a science to being a therapist. You have to know when to step in, when to back off, what to say, what to ask, etc. I enjoy getting to hone my skills so I can better guide and support my clients.”
Brittany: “I enjoy talking with my clients and being there to encourage them. I absolutely love the work that I do. I feel so fortunate to come to a place where I feel comfortable and content with the work that I do. It’s very fulfilling for me, and I couldn’t see myself doing anything different.”
Kendra: “I really enjoy connecting with clients. Our profession is very personable. It’s important for clients to have a connection with their therapist and understand that we care about them. With a strong connection, we are better able to try interventions; it increases the possibility of a breakthrough. I get great joy out of seeing my clients’ progress. It’s amazing to see how far they have come.”
Being a therapist isn’t necessarily the easiest job, but the therapists at Mindsoother agree that it certainly is a rewarding one. Like any job, it comes with its own set of challenges. However, seeing people improve and grow over time makes the profession worth the hard work and effort.