At this moment many of our dear sisters are graduating from college at universities across the world. My baby sister is one of them. Today and always, I believe that it is important to recognize the impact our families have had on our career paths. Since the day we are born, our familial environment is majorly responsible for the evolution of our personalities—who we become. Those who surround us in our daily lives take part in the human psychological metamorphosis that ensues as we constantly adjust and transition through each stage of life. It is because of this that our lives are a constant battle of searching for and maintaining friendships, amorous relationships and strong family connections.
My parents and sister have been an irrevocable part of my personal growth and development into a therapist and a professional. Without a doubt, they have pushed me and taught me to have confidence in myself and follow my passions. It is because of their support that I have triumphed and fulfilled my dreams. I am the first in my family to have studied psychology and to work in this field; now my sister wants to do the same. She too has fallen in love with psychology and the realm of psychoanalysis. Since my realization of this, an innate worry has invaded my mind: how do I prepare her for all that is to come?
In a few days she will be closing the college chapter of her life—where she felt familiarity and comfort—and shall be advancing to superior education where after completing her Master’s, she will commence her career. After many conversations (sometimes “indoctrination” as she calls it), I continue to ask myself: how do I prepare her?? The truth is that I am anxious that she will choose a career that doesn’t impassion her or that she feels obligated to follow in my footsteps. I get worried that she will feel lost, just as I did many times during my studies and internships, or that she will feel inept in front of her patients like we all do from time to time.
From all this angst, I have come to a conclusion: it doesn’t matter if one is a guru of therapy who has studied all of the books in the world and treated thousands of patients, one remains imperfect. It is not possible to avoid mistakes or hesitancies throughout such a delicate and emotional career. Once one devotes oneself to the field, one becomes a martyr of the human sentiment—someone willing to put all their strength and conviction into the role of a therapist. No one has reckoned this to be an easy task. Naturally, one becomes tired of playing the ‘wise’ counselor of others; but at the same time, the love and jubilant feeling upon seeing peace in the eyes of one’s patients and their families is far more powerful than anything else. Thereby lays a therapist’s utopia.
As I write to you, I hope that you remember the value of feeling competent and secure in everything you do, being as it is the most important ingredient for happiness. I dedicate this to all the bright-eyed students searching for their niche and to all the sisters who have given us a sense of equilibrium throughout the years. Thank you for seeing us in such a special way. Hopefully we have been able to inspire you just as you have us.
And to my baby sister who graduates from my alma mater: I congratulate you. Like papi always says, “May G-d shed light upon your path.” Now I shall add, “...and your career.”
Stephanie Dargoltz is a bilingual counselor who works at a private practice in South Florida with children, adolescents, and adults. Her interests include Sport Psychology/Counseling and plans to pursue these careers in the near future.