In Case Anyone Wonders

If you ever wonder whether therapists lead a perfect life... let me put your questions to rest right now.

In a word? Nope.

I see this as a good thing. How good would a therapist be if they had never experienced loss, hurt, rejection, fear, anger, anxiety? How meaningful would their empathy be if it had to be faked, because they never felt anything like you? How useful would their advice be if it's never been battle tested?

Every now and then, I run across people who scoff at therapists they know who are imperfect. They tell me stories like they expect me to agree and laugh with them. Therapists have all the answers, right? So shouldn't their lives be perfect bliss?

In a word? Nope.

Therapy isn't about one perfect person telling an imperfect person how they can be perfect too. (Even writing that sentence makes my skin crawl a little!) Therapy is far more sacred, and far more messy than that. It is about humanness. It is about empathy and connection. It is about weathering storms with someone at your side.

Now, that someone at your side happens to have years (if not decades) of education and experience doing the same. They are an experienced co-pilot who can delicately tease out what is healthful and productive, and what is self-limiting. Their years of experience lets them pinpoint the heart of the matter, distinguish cause from effect, highlight destructive patterns. And all of that is wonderful and helpful.

But how empty would it be if the therapist wasn't fully aware of their own frailty and humanity?

I'm fortunate that I have a daily reminder of my own imperfections. It happens to come in a 3-foot-tall package with the most beautiful blue eyes. A two year old is the best reminder that education and training only means so much. If you can't connect, they're not interested. If you can't roll up your sleeves and dig in the dirt with them... they have no use for you. And regardless of your years of experience and education... they are unimpressed.

I am so thankful for my daily reminder. What a gift.

1 comment:

  1. Well stated! I do run into some that don't open themselves to their own imperfections or never work to improve, and I will not refer to those therapists. None of us will ever achieve perfection, but we can use our experience and compassion to ease the path of improvement for others.


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