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Therapy For Therapists A Must

In a survey conducted recently, the results showed that only 60% of mental health therapists, and this includes psychiatrists, psychologists and counsellors, seek therapy for themselves. This result is shocking because of the implication that therapists either (1) think they do not need therapy or (2) they are also part of the stigmatization of mental health. Imagine if you are a food seller who avoids eating your own food! This is what happens when therapists do not seek therapy for themselves. It is impossible in our line of work that we are completely unaffected by the cases we handle. Not seeking therapy for ourselves will naturally have a negative impact on the help we provide to our clients.


Introduction Therapists are often seen as the pillars of strength, empathy, and unwavering support for their clients. They are trained to provide mental and emotional help to those in need, but what happens when the helpers need help themselves? This article explores the importance of therapists seeking therapy, delving into the psychological reasons behind this often overlooked aspect of mental health care.

The Helper's Dilemma

Therapists are no strangers to the emotional challenges that come with their profession. They bear witness to their clients' pain, trauma, and distress on a daily basis. This continuous exposure to the emotional turmoil of others can take a toll on a therapist's own mental well-being. Compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma, and burnout are not uncommon in the field. Therapists who fail to acknowledge and address these issues may find themselves less effective and less resilient in their role.

Self-Awareness and Personal Growth

Therapists are human beings with their own life experiences, traumas, and unresolved issues. They are not immune to the ups and downs of life. Just like anyone else, they can benefit from therapy to gain a deeper understanding of themselves and address their own emotional baggage. Therapy can help therapists increase their self-awareness, making them better equipped to navigate their personal challenges, which in turn can positively affect their professional work.

Maintaining Professional Boundaries

One of the cornerstones of ethical therapy practice is maintaining professional boundaries. This means not letting one's personal issues interfere with the therapeutic relationship. When therapists undergo therapy themselves, they learn to manage their own emotional triggers, personal biases, and unresolved conflicts more effectively. This, in turn, helps them uphold the boundaries that are essential for providing effective care to their clients.

Dealing with Transference and Countertransference

Transference and countertransference are natural phenomena in the therapeutic relationship. Transference occurs when clients project their feelings, often unconscious, onto the therapist, while countertransference refers to the therapist's emotional reactions to the client. Both can be valuable sources of insight and understanding in therapy. However, if therapists do not address their own emotional responses, they risk reacting inappropriately or unproductively in therapy sessions. Personal therapy can help therapists work through these complex dynamics, enabling them to be more objective and effective in their practice.

Breaking the Stigma

Therapists going to therapy also helps destigmatize mental health care. It sends a powerful message that seeking help is a sign of strength and self-awareness, rather than a sign of weakness. By openly acknowledging their own therapy journey, therapists can lead by example, encouraging others to prioritize their mental well-being.


Seek Therapy, not Supervision


To maintain their licenses, most therapists are required to do a certain number of supervision, usually by a qualified supervisor or by their peers. This for psychologists, is called supervision. The purpose, objectives and reason for supervision are entirely different from therapy and supervision. Supervision is more like a mentorship program and as most therapists are aware that it is very different from therapy.


Heal Yourself First


At 360 Wellness Hub, all our therapists receive therapy among peers or some will seek therapy outside of the company. 360 Wellness Hub highly encourages this type of activity which we think is crucial and forms a core part of our team-building and corporate social responsibility goals.

Conclusion

Therapists are human, and like all humans, they can benefit from therapy. It is not a sign of professional inadequacy or personal weakness but rather a testament to their commitment to their clients and their own mental health. The therapeutic journey can make therapists more resilient, self-aware, and effective in their role, ultimately benefiting those they seek to help. Moreover, therapists going to therapy sets a positive example and helps combat the stigma surrounding mental health care. It's time to recognize that even the healers sometimes need healing, and that's perfectly normal and commendable. #mentalhealth #mentalhealthstigma #healthytherapist


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About the Author

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Dr. Lennie Soo

Founder and Clinical Director of 360 Wellness Hub.

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