It is so important for a mental health professional to be conscious of our responsibility and the position of power that it is to be a therapist. We are almost always working with people who lay out their vulnerabilities in front of us, in an attempt to figure things out for themselves, to understand themselves and the world better. Yet, there is no manual to tell us how we should respond to a particular situation. It is a tough tough job, to be in the present and respond to the person in front of you with all the honesty, empathy and vulnerability that you can muster. We need to be careful of our own narratives that come in the way of our perception of our client’s stories, our own barriers, our own stereotypes.
It is a job that comes with doing, with being brutally honest with yourself and trying hard as hell to confront, fight and reflect on all your demons. It means reading, as much as possible, understanding as much as possible about diverse lived experiences of people. It also means going to therapy yourself, understanding yourself, unveiling yourself, layer after layer. It means vulnerability – we are imperfect too, we make mistakes too, we do not and will never know everything there is to know, to do our jobs better. We will try as long as we live to be better professionals. Humility, humility, humility. Responsibility!
Part of this responsibility is self-care. The way we respond to our clients has a lot to do with how we are doing. Learning that being a mental health professional is never just a job, we give our person to it and we need to be conscious of our own limitations. Self-care is important for us but so much more for the clients we work it. We owe it do them, in order to be better therapists.