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On being a therapist...

What I'm about to say may shock you, and it may worry you, but here goes...your therapist is not the expert.

If you've ever been in therapy, you probably had some kind of an expectation going into it. Watch any TV show or movie and you'll see that the client in therapy is often looking to his/her therapist for guidance and a way to solve an issue. There's this idea that the therapist is the expert, that if we divulge all of our deepest darkest secrets to this one human, that the therapist will magically solve all of our issues - they have all of the answers! They know what's right and wrong! They will tell me how to live better so that I can find love and get my dream job and make lots of money and retire at age 40!

I realize that's dramatic, but not that far-fetched. In my career as a mental health therapist, I've experienced this a bit with clients - and I've been in the field for nearly ten years. I'd be lying if I said my ego didn't appreciate the idea that my clients look to me for guidance and support. My heart swells when my students tell me that they thought about what I would say in a certain scenario! I'm human.

However, realistically, I do not matter. I am in no way an expert on how my clients should live their lives. And how dare anyone try to impose their own beliefs on another! Who are we to presume that what's best for us is best for others?

It can be weird going and seeing a therapist for the first time, and people do have expectations in general; but with their therapist, it's the expectation of going into the office, sitting in the chair, venting about stressors, and *poof* - magic happens as soon as the therapist opens his/her mouth.

Obviously it's not that easy.

It's important to understand that you actually do the work in therapy - not your therapist.

I know! Controversial and provocative!! 

But it's true! As I've alluded to in the past, the therapist's job is to reflect, summarize, support, validate, normalize, and empower YOU to make decisions.

We are basically a human-weed-wacker, helping you chop off all of the unhelpful weeds that grow around and try to suffocate the beautiful tree, so that the tree can grow freely and feel the warm sun on it's bark and the appreciate the wind through it's leaves!! I digress... ;)

So please, the next time you seek counseling or go to your therapist's office, remember that your therapist is not the expert - you are. Know that everything, all of the answers, lie within you, and that you will get through whatever is going on. You've got this!

- S