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is it sad being a therapist?

#therapy #psychology

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Kimberly’s Answer

Hi Hailey,

Thank you for an excellent question. Sometimes it can in fact be sad to be a therapist. Clients come to me because they have issues that they need help dealing with, and sometimes those issues can be very sad. About a year ago a family brought their son for therapy because they lost their family pet and he was having a really hard time with his grief. I love dogs, and when he told me about the last days with his beloved friend I cried right along with him. Some days are harder than others, but I take great joy and satisfaction in the idea that I can be someone who can help people when they are emotionally distraught or just can't seem to handle their lives at the moment. I also work with a lot of teens, and this aspect of my work gives me the greatest joy. It's hard being a teen in today's world, and I am grateful that I can be someone who is a resource for a struggling teen. I hope you have more excellent questions, it sounds as if you are a very empathetic person. If you don't know what that means, look it up and feel proud of yourself.

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Jose’s Answer

Hello young man let me ask you a question. When your friend comes to you with their problem which is causing them pain, grief, conflict, whatever negative it might be; does it make you sad? More than likely yes, of course it's probably going to make you sad. Will that necessarily give your overall life a sense of sadness probably not. Grant it your friend is not a professional therapist's client, I was just drawing a parallel in order to provide some perspective. What if your friend shared with you that, now that you helped him with his problem he isn't going to do something so drastic as take a lot of sleeping pills. Certainly his problem and what he was contemplating is sad yet might not you and your friend be happy with the new found results? This is also something a therapist experiences in their work a mixture of sentiments.
The nature of the work will incorporate some sadness but just like in the above example you wouldn't get so down that you couldn't function and or lose your mind, right? Well the therapist so to speak goes through a similar dynamic. You can empathize and may be even sympathize but you must establish boundaries in order to maintain a sense of balance between you and the person your treating and a sense of stability so that you ultimately can support your client becoming healthy again.
Think of therapy as a basic form of communication between people which happens in all walks of life. What if you were an investment banker and a couple came to you and stated how they lost their home due to poor investment decisions. The situation appears sad for that couple right and your a banker not a therapist yet the same type of dynamic has just occurred as in a therapy session. Do you allow yourself to become overwhelmed with sadness or do you acknowledge your feelings but check yourself to then call on your expertise and help that couple?.
Lastly, in therapy you may possibly hear something that is so devastating that it may impair your functioning . This can be as a result of a culture shock or trauma where your mind isn't capable of figuring out how such a terrible thing could happen. Here is where we have to rely on our common humanity with others who help us gain some understanding or at least share the horror with us. Lastly you can not let yourself get so enmeshed in somebody else's problems that you become sick as well. Try to maintain a balance.
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