Do therapists really go to therapy? I think is the most perplexing question I have received from clients and friends throughout my years as a psychologist. It is almost as if people expect a therapist to know all the answers for everyone including themselves. Well let me break it to you now: nothing could be further from the truth. Any therapist who thinks they know all the answers is either a narcissist or a crackpot (and probably both!)
A therapist’s main tool is their mind. And, that tool has to be kept sharp. To keep that tool sharp, therapists continue to attend conferences and workshops, read books and journals, consult with other therapists, and continually hone their craft. But that is the professional side. A therapist also must pay attention to their personal side so that it does not impede their professional.
Besides things like working out and attending to relationships, I continue to examine my personal issues. And, in this episode you see me do something that nearly every therapist I know does -- I go to see a therapist myself.
That’s because as a therapist, I know the power of therapy. I know that humans are social animals and only a fool believes he can handle life on his own. And since I did not have access to the person I had been seeing, I take a chance and see someone a friend recommended. (So, yes, therapists go to therapy!)What you see is that therapists can be both easy clients and tough clients. I am an easy client in that I don’t dance around my problems and I am open, vulnerable, and prepared to work. But, I am tough because I don’t put up with B.S. like when the therapist tries to blow past my request for specifics about his license, education, and type of therapy he practices.
Questions about training and licensure are among the most basic and ones that any client can and should ask. I never really got specific answers to my questions, but I decided to move on as I had work to do and didn’t have time to look for someone else. But, all was not lost.
What came out of that exchange was my realization that in order to speak effectively with my father about the past, I needed to come from a place of understanding about his past. Though an angry confrontation might feel good to me (and be satisfying to the viewer), I knew it would not bring any progress or understanding. If anything, I would be doing to him what he did to me.
It’s time to break the cycle and do something different.