Are you considering becoming a psychotherapist? A career in therapy can be a great job for those who love interacting with and helping others. By helping others lead more functional, productive, and happy lives, you can create purpose in yours. However, too many people go into the field without learning the things to know before becoming a psychotherapist. It’s not an easy job by any means, and understanding what it’s like to be a therapist can help you decide whether this career path is right for you.
Don’t Be Too Hard on Yourself
Being a therapist can often feel exhausting. It’s easy to feel like it’s your fault that your patient isn’t progressing as quickly as you’d like. But, unless you are doing something you know is ethically wrong, you shouldn’t be too hard on yourself. Follow your instincts and try not to blame yourself when things go awry.
Building Trust Is Key
It often takes longer than initially expected to make progress when working with people. It can take a while for you and your patient to build trust, and it’s hard to make progress until you build that trust.
Don’t Forget To Take Your Own Advice
It can be easy to give people advice on how to solve their problems as an impartial bystander looking in. It’s a lot harder to follow your advice. Use the advice you give others to help manage your own problems, especially in those first years when things are more difficult. Many people go into therapy thinking they don’t have to work on themselves, but this is the wrong approach to take. Self-care is just as important for you as it is for your patients, so it’s important to follow some self-care tips!
It Can Feel Hopeless
One of the most important things to know before becoming a psychotherapist is you can’t help them all. It can certainly feel hopeless sometimes. After all, you can’t help people who don’t want to help themselves. There will be patients that reject every suggestion and never make any progress. This isn’t a problem with your treatment. You can’t force people to act upon what you suggest. You can’t fix them all, and this is often the point that causes new therapists to reconsider their careers. It’s OK; don’t beat yourself up if you can’t help a patient.
Christina Duron is a writer living in the Chicagoland area. Her passion for writing and health helps create thought-provoking and engaging pieces and hopes to use them to empower readers to play a more active role in their personal healthcare journey.