- Many doctors drink too much
- Nurses smoke too much
- Mechanics drive beater cars
- Lawyers are told not to represent themselves in court
- Chefs eat drive-through fast food
In Spite of Knowing Better
For years of your life you diligently studied human behavior. After learning about the origins of mental suffering and techniques to alleviate it, you decided to dedicate your life to helping. Therefore, you are a very useful human.
You know a lot of stuff and yet you find yourself utterly helpless to snap out of your own spiral of negative thinking. Despite knowing better, you find yourself having lived out unhealthy patterns of interactions that you warn others about.
Even though you have the knowledge, you play out your old insecurities in your own relationships. Your decisions have not been informed by the wisdom you seem to have such great access to when advising other people.
As it turns out, knowing things is only part of the equation of changing things. If it were easy then nobody would need therapy at all. Google will provide a million hits to a query about how do I handle panic attacks, for example. Often we try to DIY our own mental health and it will possibly go very badly.
Built-in Emotional Fatigue
We listen to and attend to other people’s suffering and it is exhausting. The accumulation of stories we hear and witness is a lot to bear. Regular people have not personally witnessed hundreds or thousands of people share stories of the deaths of their loved one, of bullying incidents, rapes, divorces, break ups etc. It takes a certain toll on a person’s psyche. Why wouldn’t I need my own support at various points?
As therapists we deal with other people’s pain and our own. We are not immune to the impact of our own lives and relationships just because we may have a lot of insight. Being humble enough to know when I need help actually makes me a better therapist. “Know-it-all” type people are annoying and fake.
If you are reading this, it’s probably time to get some help. Since I’ve opened this practice between a quarter and a third of my clients have been women who are also therapists. I blame the silver hair. Having decades of life and professional experience possibly makes other therapists feel confident that I could help them. I hope to continue to live up to that.
We will go through a very similar process that any client and therapist will experience. But, if you start to veer off into “psycho-babble” or “shop talk,” I am going to call you out on it-kindly. We will need to trudge through the messy parts and not fall into being impressed by ourselves for knowing a lot of deep stuff.
There’s no shame in being a therapist who needs her own therapy. Why wouldn’t we? Feel free to set up a phone consultation with me. And certainly there are a ton of other therapists so please keep looking until you find a good enough fit.