Years ago I worked as a therapist at a college while I was going through a serious breakup. The stress of it was enough to force some big changes in my life, including a drastic shift to a new life in Virginia. In trying to heal myself, I was surprised how hard it was to find a therapist that I felt comfortable with. That wasn’t the case for the vast majority of the clients I saw during my tenure.
When you work in the mental health field, there’s really only one issue you focus on: how to help people. I focused on the concrete things that worked for me as a working therapist. I looked for the things that made a difference to me. My approach was different, but that didn’t mean it was one that people enjoyed or recognized. At the time, I didn’t understand why.
When you go out for help, you hope that you’ll have an open and transparent communication with the person sitting across from you. You hope that you’ll get the right guidance that will get you out of your slump and onto the path to health and self-acceptance.
Unfortunately, people have a difficult time understanding this. The issues are so deeply buried that it is difficult to understand the dynamics and how to reach people who are susceptible to problematic behaviors. With this knowledge, though, comes real danger. People try to deal with the situation themselves, and end up making some of the same poor choices that they considered unacceptable while they were going through the issues in the first place.
In situations like this, it is important for a therapist to act as a middleman. They need to act as a mediator between the psychologist and client, and the conversation between psychologist and client should be a collaborative effort. They need to provide insight and create healthy boundaries. They need to be a sounding board for the person to voice their feelings and solicit responses from the therapist.