By Amanda Fondow, MA, LPC, R-DMT
The therapy relationship is, by design, one sided. Because you deserve the space to fully focus on your own healing, most therapists don’t share a lot about themselves. This can make your therapist seem a bit like a mystery, but we are humans just like everyone else! While every therapist’s experience is different, here are a few common threads that many therapists share (that we would love for you to know about).
1. We are not here to “fix” you.
First, you are not broken; you are healing. Second, we are here to support, reflect, and guide you towards healthy, positive, and lasting changes; we cannot do the work for you. If we suggest homework, it is up to you to rise to the occasion and challenge yourself to do the work. Most of us will not be disappointed if you come to the next session having not done it. We will encourage you to try again and help you work through any barriers that may arise. Therapy is not a passive process— you have to be committed to doing the work for yourself. We know how hard the work can be because most of us have done some really hard personal work, too.
2. We have struggles too.
Most providers who have a focus or an area of expertise have often struggled with the same challenges in some capacity. Know you are not alone. Therapy is a great place to explore the feelings and emotions that are coming up for you with someone who has firsthand experience or years of practice and research with the same stressors.
3. Most of us go to therapy.
Not every provider goes to therapy regularly, but the majority of effective providers do or have gone at some point in their lives. It’s actually a requirement in most graduate school programs! How can we show up and support our clients if we are not doing the same work healing ourselves? Meeting with our own therapists allows us to explore our own personal and professional challenges, gain insight, and work on our own self-care and well-being. And yes, we often use the golden nuggets our therapists tell us in sessions with you.
4. We think about you outside of sessions.
It is not always easy to turn off “therapist brain.” You are important, and we think about ways we can help or fresh ideas to bring to the next session. We reflect on your progress, challenges, and goals to better understand and support you. We consider different therapeutic approaches, techniques, or interventions that may be helpful for your specific needs. We read books and listen to podcasts outside of work hours to better understand your healing process. We genuinely want to give you the best treatment possible.
5. We do not know everything.
First, no one can know everything; we don’t have all the answers. Even if we did, we probably would not give them to you anyway (that is yours to discover). Second, we are literally “practicing mental health.” We have excellent education and training as a foundation to do our work. It is important to recognize we do not possess complete knowledge about every topic, especially when it comes to you. No one knows you better than you know yourself. Maybe you don’t believe that right now. Our job is to help you get to that point.
As a therapist, it is our honor and privilege to walk alongside you in your healing journey. We are humans, just like you, and most of us have gone through our own growth phases where we faced heartache and struggle. In the end, most of us love what we do, and we believe that you have infinite potential for healing and growth. If you are wanting to start or continue your own healing journey, you can find out which of our providers has availability by filling in this form. We are cheering you on!