What I Like About Being A Therapist (So Far)
I started counseling people during my graduate program in 2014. Since then, I have worked at a university counseling clinic, two community mental health clinics, a group practice, and my own private practice. I’ve worked with people from a wide variety of cultural and economic backgrounds, facing all kinds of life’s challenges. Here is what I enjoy about being a therapist, so far:
I never know what’s going to happen each day, when I go into the office. Even when I’m seeing well established clients, and I feel I have a decent grasp of what they are dealing with, I never know. There are so many factors involved in the lives and development of people, and I get to join with people as that unfolds. Sitting with the ambiguity of not knowing can be difficult, but it seems to get easier with practice.
In my line of work, I am always learning. I learn from colleagues, trainings, and books (I love reading in my field!), but most of all I learn from my clients and from watching my own reactions to their process. I’m so privileged in my work to get to know people well. I benefit from their knowledge and experiences and also from sorting out how I can best be of help to people as they work through their struggle.
Being a therapist forces me to work on being humble and compassionate. While I’ve developed some expertise between my education and clinical experiences, people don’t work like paint by numbers. I have to balance what I know with a healthy dose of what I don’t know, so I can really see the person who is in front of me. Sometimes I’m faced with interactions that are quite difficult, or with learning things about people that I find objectionable. When my attitude is right, I can approach even the more difficult aspects of being human without judgment and with an understanding that people are basically good and people’s rough edges exist for a reason not only understandable but also deserving of compassion.
People are so interesting! I’m lucky that I get to sit and talk with people for my living; to get to know about them, about life, and about myself. I get so much satisfaction, when I see people start to move out of old ways of being and circumstances that no longer serve them, and I get to see who they really are deep down start to come back to life. I get to be with people in that process, and in order to help people through it, I get to keep working on my own. This is why I love my work.