Therapists go to Therapy Too
By Lisa Catanzaro LMFT
Humans struggle. All humans. Even therapists. Many of my clients have often assumed that I “have it all together,” or that I “don’t have these issues.” Several of them have said things along the lines of “I bet you have the perfect relationship with your partner,” and “I bet you have the best communication in your family”. But in actuality, I argue with my dad often. My partner and I do have problems. And just the other week I was feeling so anxious that I couldn’t motivate myself to run errands for the day. I’m not the only therapist that has difficulties. In fact, most clinicians I know and work with have been in therapy at some time or another.
For example, one colleague that I worked with had challenges with insecurities and trust for years. But that doesn’t prevent them from helping others who experience those same issues. Another therapist I spoke with shared that her battles against anxiety, during treatment, actually improved her ability to aid clients with similar concerns. And another clinician described how he often just needed help getting through the day, much like the individuals he now works with.
I think effective therapists are aware of their struggles and are actively learning how to help themselves. And when they do so by spending time as clients, they learn what it’s like to make that first vulnerable call, to open up emotionally to a stranger, and to take the risk of trusting someone else. The vast majority of clinicians I’ve known have indicated that their time as clients has allowed them to empathize more with their own clientele, establishing a deeper connection. When I share that fact with my clients, they’re usually comforted knowing that they’re not alone and that we all struggle in similar ways. So, the next time you’re in session, know that neither you nor your therapist, is perfect. And that’s okay.