Confessions of a Psychotherapist
Editor's Note: We've all wondered what it must be like for a psychotherapist. If we've ever had one, we've probably wondered what they thought listening to us go on and on about ourselves. In this post, Nicole at Yuppie Yogini fills us in on the nitty gritty truths from the other side of the couch. -- AVF
How does one handle listening to sad people all day long? I'm sure each therapist would give a different answer, but it has always been easy for me to maintain the professional boundary between myself and clients. Sure, some cases really get to me and stay on my mind, but for most clients, I can maintain healthy boundaries.
Photo by Robert Huffstutter. (Flickr)
Even though it seems like therapy would be similar to giving advice to a friend, it is not…at all. When I give advice to friends, I tend to have a vested interest in the outcome. With clients I make recommendations and hope they follow through, but if not, I realize that each individual is free to make his/her own choice. Bottom line -- I don't control or judge the choices my clients make.
What kind of things do people tell me? All sorts. One of my favorite parts of this profession is being privy to the intimate details of my clients' lives. The phrase, "I have never told anyone this," is said to a therapist more times than you can imagine. I take these significant disclosures very seriously and honor what my clients share by remembering the details of their lives and carefully protecting their information. (I cannot disclose client information without consent by law, but I work to uphold confidentiality out of respect for my clients.) Because I learn so much about people through my work, not much phases me anymore. If I wasn't nonjudgmental when I became a therapist, I certainly am now after hearing so many stories. In all seriousness, I'd bet that most therapists are used to hearing life stories and instead of getting stuck in the content, are listening and looking for patterns, connections, or anything that will help the client heal.
Read the rest of this eye-opening post at Yuppie Yogini here.