Perspectives On Being A Therapist
Updated March 08, 2020
Medically Reviewed By: Whitney White, MS. CMHC, NCC., LPC
Being a therapist is complex. Working as a therapist is about much more than simply sitting down and listening to other people's issues. A therapist has to truly understand the human mind, the causes behind various issues and the solutions which are most beneficial for different problems which people face.
Despite the many things which therapist must learn and familiarize themselves with, there is no one-size-fits-all answer for any patient who may seek out therapy. What works for one person may be wrong for someone else, and the therapist has to adjust. Therapy is both science and art. The science of research-supported interventions and therapy models are delivered through a therapist, who is a person. The therapist's delivery, personality, humanity, and genuiness bring "art" into therapy.
Some who may not be familiar with therapy may think that therapy is a relatively simple job. Others are distrustful of therapists. With so many conflicting attitudes and opinions about therapists and therapy, the therapist's perspective can get lost in the noise.
The Perspective of the Therapist
As individuals who work in therapy, it's safe to say that therapists have some expert outlooks on being a therapist. According to Careers In Psychology, many therapists believe that it's important to be aware of certain things before pursuing therapy as a career path. Having the proper knowledge can impact not only the career of the therapist and how well they work with patients but also the other areas of therapists' lives.
Many therapists have stated that the patients' desire to better themselves is a critical factor that will impact therapeutic outcomes. This is something that is left out of discussions about therapy. Many times the central focus and responsibility for therapeutic outcomes are placed on the therapist, while success in therapy also rests on the commitment of the client.
While there is much discussion about the importance of the client's body language in sessions, the body language of the therapist is also very impactful as well. When a therapist appears open, friendly, and nonjudgmental, this can make it easier for patients who may have trouble with opening up or talking about challenging issues.
The Perspective of the Patient
While the perspective of the patient is one which is frequently covered by a variety of sources and outlets, it's still important to discuss here. Many patients who have worked with therapists have their outlooks on being a therapist and what they have learned from working with therapists.
Many patients who have worked with therapists note that therapy is not always an easy process, nor does it serve as a "fix." This doesn't mean that therapy isn't effective or helpful. It indicates that therapy requires work if someone is serious about truly improving the quality of their lives. As previously stated, work from both the therapist and the patient is required for therapy to yield the desired results of improvement.
Not Always Easy
Amongst certain circles, there is a misconception regarding therapy. Many people have been led to believe that therapy is all about sitting down on comfortable couches and pouring out your life story to a therapist who can, in turn, provide the solution which magically changes the life of the patient. While the media has largely contributed to the painting of this image, it is a misconception.
In real life, therapy involves talking about issues and past experiences which may not always be easy or comfortable to revisit. Therapy furthermore requires self-evaluation and making some lifestyle changes which may not always be easy to do. In many cases, people get accustomed to habits which are not conducive to their productivity or growth as an individual.
Therapy does get easier with time and progress, but the beginning parts are usually the most challenging. This is something which both patients and therapist should be aware of. Therapy is very much worth it but understanding what to expect before starting always makes a positive difference.
Therapy Is Not A "Fix"
The idea that therapy serves as a "fix" is another common misconception that exists regarding the practice. Therapy is not a "fix," but rather a process which allows patients to gain the tools, insight, and strategies needed to overcome certain issues and improve the quality of their lives.
In life there will always be setbacks, challenges, and obstacles. With the right tools, knowledge, and changes, patients can better themselves and ensure that they are ready for whatever life throws at them.
It is not only going to therapy that makes the change, but also the receptiveness and changes which come about as a result of therapy. The specific changes and improvements which patients experience will certainly vary, but at the end of the day, therapy is about self-improvement, not seeking a quick and easy "fix" to the challenges and difficulties of life.
On Being A Therapist by Jeffrey Kottler
One of the most interesting perspectives about working in the field of therapy comes from Jeffrey Kottler, the author of On Being a Therapist. Kottler's book largely pertains to how patients impact the lives of the therapists who work with them. On Being a Therapist also covers how working with patients can help therapists in their own lives; namely, making positive changes, solving their issues and improving their quality of work in therapy.
On Being a Therapist has earned many great reviews, particularly on Amazon. Satisfied readers have noted Kottler's conversational manner of communicating with his readers, coupled with how patients' words, choices, and situations which they discuss during sessions can impact, enlighten, and even inspire therapists. Kottler also earned significant praise for focusing on the humanity and empathy of therapists.
While there are many perspectives on being a therapist, Kottler's book can provide some in-depth insight for those who are truly curious about this line of work. Often mainstream coverage of therapy pertains to how therapists impact patients and what patients should expect when going into therapy.
Therapy is a very broad field. There are many different types of therapists with many specialties. A person who is truly curious about being a therapist will certainly benefit from hearing out both therapists and patients. This can serve as a very enlightening and informational experience. No two patients or therapists are exactly alike, and each person can add to the conversation.
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