Sunday, April 12, 2009

The eve of therapy

Purveyor of Symbols, mixed media on canvas (triptych), 36" x 36"

Tomorrow's the day.

I will be going to therapy.

It's required in my program. Fifty hours of therapy. The Board of Behavioral Sciences, heretofore known as the BBS, will triple these 50 hours to count towards the 300 hours required of burgeoning therapists.

This is a good thing, for the most part. I mean, forcing people to get therapy kind of goes against the spirit of therapy, but overall, it's a good thing, and not just because it gives the psych student a taste of what it will be like in the client's/patient's chair.

It's good because it gives one a chance to work on oneself before working with others.

There's a stereotype of therapists being the most screwed up people out there. Or that they became therapists to fix their own problems. Or that they became therapists to fix other people's problems because they couldn't fix their own problems.

This could go on ad nauseum.

Recently, I had the experience of someone pointing his finger at me when I joined my friends for dinner and say pretty much all three samples up there. He was joking, of course. Well, not really.

I responded by acknowledging that there are bad therapists.

The ones that talk endlessly about themselves when it's the client's therapy session? You betcha.

The ones that start crying and the clients end up comforting them? Oh, yes, I've heard the stories from friends who went to these therapists.

What about the ones who arrive late with a cup of overpriced coffee in their hands and no apology in their mouths? Mm-hm.

There are bad professionals in any profession. We've heard of the teachers who squashed students' creativity. Arrogant doctors who mistreated those in their care.

But there are good professionals, too.

Being a therapist for me means I get to explore what makes me tick, and to use this knowledge to help others (at best) and not to harm others (at worst). It's responsible, ethical, and imperative.

I can only help my clients go as far as I've gone in my own personal development, and it's from understanding my own suffering and healing that I draw compassion for the suffering and healing of others.

A therapist should be somebody screwed up--but who knows it, is doing something about it, and doesn't want it to adversely affect themselves or others--just like the brave clients who seek their services.

I think that's honest, noble, and heroic.

Something to strive for amidst the slings of stereotypes and arrows of belittlement.

So tomorrow, I'm looking forward to therapy.

Invite Beauty,

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