What You Always Wanted to Know About Being a Great Therapist, but Were Afraid to Ask Part #1

Date Posted: June 09, 2014
What You Always Wanted to Know About Being a Great Therapist, but Were Afraid to Ask Part #1

This blog piece is for all the newbie therapists on the block. Next week's blog will have more questions and answers for you as well. Enjoy!


How will the theories I am studying mesh with my clinical experience?
This is what makes the process of becoming a seasoned therapist so much fun. You are studying an art, not a science. Just when you think you have your finger on the pulse of the right healing paradigm, someone will come along with a better one. So you must now study that if you want to consider yourself cutting edge, competent, and secure as a clinician.


How do I go about learning all the psychological approaches?
We live in a day and age when technology is churning out more information than the average person can take in. A hundred years ago, therapists were just beginning to break away from the Freudian model. Now there is no way to be an expert in every psychological approach out there. Just make the commitment to be a life-long learner. . Psychology has grown into a vast body of knowledge since the time of Freud, and that can both be mind boggling and exciting at the same time.


I love working with children, but how do I manage my frustration toward their parents?
If you don't have children of your own, you need to be aware that parenting is one of the hardest jobs a person could undertake. In addition, you have chosen a career that can be traumatizing to the clinician, as well. Anyone who cares about people—and especially helpless, innocent children—is subject to burn out and depression from seeing abuse and injustice. It is important to get close supervision from someone who can help you help the family, as well as offer a strong shoulder for you to cry on.


How can I help others when I haven't sorted out my own stuff yet?
Every therapist has blind spots when it comes to problems they themselves have not figured out. It is essential that you know your scope of treatment and the population you feel comfortable connecting with. Accept that as long as you are one step ahead of the client, you can be of help. Continue to be introspective, to be open to knowing yourself, and work on your own stuff.


Do I have to be perfect to be a therapist?
If you had to be perfect to be a therapist there would be no therapists. You can stop holding that expectation right now.


How can I ethically charge people in crisis for my services?
If the population you are working with cannot afford your private practice prices, they need to find a mental health clinic that is affordable for them. If it goes against your moral values to charge someone in crisis, you may want to stick with working on salary at a mental health clinic. A compromise is to hold spaces for low-fee/no-fee clients. Doing that assuages some of the guilt you might feel for being a capitalist in a capitalist country.

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