Article by: Dr. Ria Das (Counselling Psychologist) | Edited: Atri Das
People in Therapy are often in therapy to deal with the people in their lives who won't go to therapy!
The most commonly asked question about a psychological therapist – You are a therapist right? Well everything should be perfect! You should be able to solve your own problems!
Well no, trust me it’s one of the most irritating questions we as therapists come across! No offence but it’s not what it seems! Therapists too have hard days, situations and definitely hard jobs. We hear traumatic experiences every hour for an average of five to six hours per day and then give space patiently without judgement. There can be unresolved trauma and also may face situational crisis. So the question of whether therapists are capable of handling their own problems or not, could be answered this way.
Although therapists are trained in handling situations, that puts an extra edge to their problem solving skills, but since their job is extremely stressful, it becomes even more necessary to seek psychological de-stressing sessions and counselling to bring back balance. Studies have shown that therapists are at higher risk to psychological distress than an average person, because of obvious reasons.
Let’s explore some of the common problems faced by a therapist:
Well, being a therapist does not mean you wear an armor and walk around, being safe from everyday nuances. Work stress, responsibilities, home environment, relationship issues, parent care, finances and several day-to-day requirements and disturbances can put them off balance.
Other People’s Emotional Burdens
Therapy being confidential, therapists clog their mind with an information overload. They may just mention a difficult therapy session but may never be allowed to offload completely. Thus supervision and personal counselling helps in venting out completely.
Ethical consideration is one major area which may work up a therapist. While facing client conflicts regarding divorces, child abuse, suicidal attempts or even ideation, therapists constantly are faced with dilemmas of ethics which may hugely affect and weigh them down. Sometimes there is a choice to be made between two unpleasant consequences and also sometimes between the clients feelings and the law's calling.
Most therapist work in isolation and in private practices where there is very little chance of colleague interaction. This adds up to the worries and troubling thoughts. No matter how much trained, it becomes impossible to switch between two sessions forgetting the emotional impact. It may get lonely at times. Because of these confidentiality restrictions, therapists frequently keep work-related.
Separation of Personal Life from Work
Again referring to the point of confidentiality, a therapist is not allowed to share personal experiences/sufferings with their clients. Like other professions they cant inform clients if they are feeling low, having a sudden headache or is worried about their family members.
Now this is something which may vary from therapist to therapist. Some clients may be extremely difficult and therapists, specially in employment settings can refuse counselling services to certain clients who seems off the line. Since there are strict guidelines once rapport is established, therapists face ethical dilemmas to abandon a client. Difficult clients can go on for lengthy periods of time, often years and become a huge source of distress. Also drawing boundaries become difficult with over friendly clients or clients falling in love! (Well that’s a big one! lol)
Trauma is like a scar. More similar to a physical scar that dries and closes the wound, but the scar that remains almost permanently. Thus no matter how much the trauma might be resolved, it may resurface waves of negative emotions time and again and may affect how the therapist views their personal trauma situation when listening to a similar case of their clients. Judgement and guidance may thus get affected.
How can therapists help themselves?
Since in conclusion we derive that therapists also would benefit from therapy, a few person vent-out sessions/supervision or long term counselling works perfectly to put the balance back. Counselling sessions help dually by providing support and also understanding how clients might feel when undergoing counselling which gives rise to a lot of useful insight.
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Well most of the therapist even with supervision hours go through challenges and might benefit from therapy. Although the training helps, but a third party support and intervention always helps to unleash what worries them. So, why the wait, try out venting sessions to speed up catharsis!
Counselling Psychologist | Art & Play Therapy Practitioner
I love what I do. My job enables me to meet beautiful across all cultures which gives a fresh perspective each day. I practice gratitude for each little thing and firmly believe in doing good!