How Much Do You Want Your Mental Health Therapy Job?
Did you ever stop to consider what could put your mental health therapy job at risk? While it’s certainly no fun to discuss problems, sometimes this discussion helps us better define the positive. But then again, if you don’t mind that your career might be briefer and more problematic than you planned, don’t bother reading any further.
Experienced clinicians can drill down fairly quickly with a new client, recognize the core problem, its impact, and what changes will need to be done in order to effect lasting change. However when a therapist is too quick to want to heal, the benefits of even the best diagnosis can be squandered.
The wise therapist needs to take a deep breath and permit the client to proceed at a self-defined comfortable pace. The organic process of lasting change and transformation often takes a long time. You may not even be the therapist anymore by the time that sublime moment arrives. You need to accept that you are here at this moment to be helpful at this particular juncture.
Those who are dedicated to their mental health therapy job believe that the thrust of it is to share “truths” with their clients. Some clients when they begin therapy actually want therapists who will give them all the answers. But ultimately even they don’t want to have someone else tell them what to do. They have come for deeper self-knowledge and to acquire the tools to heal.
Too much emphasis on discussing the therapist’s insights can cause another problem. While understanding is essential, it is woefully insufficient. Once understood, feelings need to be felt, and then talked about. This is what healing is all about! Jumping into that discussion before the client “feels” the problem hijacks this critical process, leaving crucial work unfinished.
Rescuing Your Client
But perhaps the most costly mistake stems from who you are. Because most who are passionate about their mental health therapy job are generally kind and compassionate, their beautiful soul may actually handicap them in experiencing their client’s pain. Although you know you want your client to discuss the hurts, it is difficult to watch and be with the client as this happens, particularly when you feel connected. You want to rescue the client from this.
It is known that many occupying mental health therapy jobs are drawn to it because of their own pain. This is not to say that every clinician is inadvertently promoting suffering through misplaced compassion. Rather, it is essential that you, the therapist recognize who you are, how you ended up in this field, and just how it impacts us when you come to perform your acts of kindness.
Mistakes Can Be A Blessing?
Making a mistake, especially for those of us who were raised to fear them, can feel painful, embarrassing and overwhelming. But mistakes can be our greatest source of growth. Our mistakes and missteps provide powerful information and insight, if we’re willing to recognize them and resolve to do the work to correct them.