#VoicesOfTherapy: Therapists need therapy too

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Therapists need therapy too. We are human after all.

I have been in therapy on and off over the years, mainly for a place to get perspective and validation. Additionally, I have always found it valuable to feel heard, seen, and challenged. It is probably not surprising that I went in to the field!

However, my whole appreciation for the helpfulness of therapy was strengthened a few years ago when I started experiencing a tremendous increase in my anxiety and depressive symptoms that was directly related to a negative work environment. My anxious thoughts prevented me from falling asleep, woke me up in the middle of the night, and made it hard for me to breathe. I even started questioning my own worth, and if I had entered the wrong field.

My depressive symptoms made me feel like nothing was worth it. I wanted to hide from everyone and everything in my bedroom. I felt like I went from one extreme to the other with no in-between multiple times a day. It was exhausting. I had never felt like it before.

My empathy for extreme anxiety and depression significantly increased. I thought I understood it, but I didn’t. Now I do. I remember seeking my own therapist for help because I wasn’t able to “self-help” my way out of this. While talking with her, I remember stating that I felt inadequate and that I “shouldn’t” be feeling this way as a therapist. I “should” be able to figure this out by myself since I am in the field.

But folks, sometimes we all need help, support, and validation. It doesn’t matter if you are a therapist or not. It doesn’t matter if you have been able to do get yourself out of ruts in the past or not. We are all human.

If you feel like you “should” be able to figure it out on your own, that is unnecessary pressure to put on yourself. There IS help. There IS support. You don’t have to be “crazy” to see a counselor. You also don’t have to be in therapy forever. Give yourself the gift of validation that you are, in fact, human, and that is OK. Remember: Therapists need therapy too.

Working with my therapist helped me clarify what was in my control, take back my power over how I respond to situations, and determined if the pros outweighed the cons of staying in my employment setting.

Therapy was one of the best experiences of my life. She never told me what to do or how to feel. Instead, she validated that I wasn’t “being ridiculous” and challenged me to take back power where I could and to rise above the chaos. The experience was worth its weight in gold. I would consider it an honor to offer anyone the powerful experience.

— Rachel DuPaul, PhD, LP

Want to help others by sharing your therapy story? You can do so anonymously at http://bit.ly/voicesoftherapy.

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