Would You Trust a Fat Personal Trainer?
By LNapolitanoPsyD on March 11, 2014
I wouldn’t hire a fat personal trainer. If I’m paying money to someone to help me improve my fitness, I want visual proof that this trainer practices what she preaches. I want to hear that she’s running, doing triathlons, and eating carrots. I don’t want to see her smoking behind the gym, and I don’t want to see her eating fries out of a McDonald’s bag. I want to believe that she’s committed to health and fitness 24/7. And, ultimately, I am hoping that my allegiance to her recommendations will give me abs of steel.
So why should a psychologist be different? A psychologist is an expert on how to lead a happier life. Like a personal trainer, a psychologist should be inspiring. You want to see that your psychologist is happy, fit, and enjoying her life.
My approach as a psychologist is starkly different than most other clinicians. In graduate training, psychologists are told never to disclose any personal information about their lives so as to not ‘muddy’ the client’s treatment. My opinion, however, is that women need to know that their psychologist has lived through periods of challenge and that she has successfully overcome these obstacles.
When I work with a client, I utilize my academic and clinical training, but I also recommend strategies that have worked for me in my personal life. Five years ago, I was in a job that I hated. I lived in a house that I loathed, in a town that I despised. I was in an empty marriage with 2 little kids. I was barely exercising and I had no energy. I used to crawl into bed at night with what could only be described as a ‘crate’ of Twizzlers and I would watch tv. I felt burned out and empty.
As scared as I was to make changes in my life, I knew that I wasn’t ready to settle. Through help from my therapist, and a ton of hard work, I have completely reinvented my life. Over the course of 5 years, I got divorced, I changed my job, I moved into a new house in a different town, and I have built a new social circle for myself. I’m the happiest that I’ve ever been because I took risks to change the parts of my life that did not suit me.
Happiness is the result of building the life that you want. Don’t delay – start building that life now!
Lauren Napolitano, Psy.D.