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One of the hardest things about being a therapist is that our training is a double-edged sword. It can help us in our professional work being competent and effective therapists while also helping us in our personal lives, but on the other hand, we can become our very own assassins. It can help personally to be better listeners to those in our lives. It can also help personally in terms of our self-development. To be a good, effective therapist, you need to work on yourself. You need to go through your own therapy and take care of “your stuff,” as we say. Our training can make us our very own assassins in that we get into our heads too much. This is understandable, though; we start to see life through the lens of a therapist. Similarly, an engineer might solve problems in life with that lens because that’s what they’ve been trained in. Whether we realize it or not, our vocation, education, and training impact how we see the world.
You may have heard the phrase, “ignorance is bliss.” I used to have a professor who had a sticker on his office door that said, “if you think education is expensive try ignorance.” And I used to agree that ignorance was not bliss, but I’m not so sure anymore. What used to be ignorance is now a natural awareness that can at times be so devastating. Psychology and mental health are about everyday life, giving it concrete concepts and phrases. One of the hardest things is seeing how you have hurt people and hurt relationships in the past. Especially since we’re therapists, we got into this to help people, not hurt them. But it’s not easy when you learn you’ve been wrong about something. As therapists, we take on the energy of others, but we also take on where we fall short.