Being a therapist can be an incredibly rewarding career. It provides the opportunity to help people while also improving your knowledge. Although it can be very fulfilling, it can take its toll on you. While many jobs can be testing, to be a therapist you need to keep organised and be clear-headed to provide the best service. Not everyone is receptive to therapy, which can be challenging, so it is key that you are also taking care of yourself.
Here are some of the most common challenges therapists face.
While working for yourself as a therapist has lots of perks, it also comes with the challenge of managing your own expenses.
Depending on the type of therapist you are, you will need a relevant accreditation to prove to clients that you are qualified and can legally practice. You must keep this up to date.
Once qualified, many therapists choose to continuously undertake additional training. This can be incredibly beneficial both for career progression and for clients, but it can also often come with a hefty price tag.
Many therapists choose to work to their own schedule and around their clients rather than a traditional 9 to 5. If this is not your first career, it may take some time to adjust to. Managing your appointments requires a high level of organisation and it could be wise to utilise a digital platform to help with this.
As well as appointment scheduling, there is also the serious issue of managing client data. Holding confidential information such as a client’s medical history means that both GDPR and cyber security need to be considered. Again, you may wish to use the services of a secure third-party provider for this to ensure that everything is well protected. It is also key that you keep your specialist insurance for therapists up to date for another layer of protection.
Arguably the biggest challenge for most therapists is maintaining boundaries. This can take many forms, including physical boundaries such as deciding whether or not to hug a struggling client, and mental boundaries to prevent burnout.
As a therapist, you must be prepared to hear about and subsequently help with trauma suffered by clients, some of which you may have even experienced in your own life. It is expected that this may impact you, so it is important to be wary of this and have steps in place if you feel overwhelmed. This will help you to not bring your client’s problems home with you and allow you to retain a better work-life balance. This may include taking part in a hobby such as going to the gym before re-entering your home, allowing time to switch off from work.
Another common problem is dealing with clients who may be reluctant to open up. Going to therapy is a big step for lots of people and a fear of judgement or rejection can cause many to have issues with exploring their feelings. When this is the case, it is important to remain professional and not push a client too far.