Being a mental health therapist or other helping professional can be exhausting, draining and tough. Everyday might look different depending on the setting and the client. There could be crises daily or every other week. Your caseload could be at 5 on Wednesday and increase to 10 by Monday. Providing therapy also has benefits. Therapists have a wonderful opportunity to help clients in distress and help them learn coping strategies to manage their stressors. Therapists also get the opportunity to build relationships and model life skills to help clients with the goal of not needing therapy. No matter if providing therapy is exhausting, rewarding or both, therapists would benefit from receiving their own therapy.
Therapy can provide a safe, trusting, challenging environment for therapists to process and reflect on both their professional and personal stressors. Therapy can also highlight the inner creativity in us through art, music, and dance therapy, just to name a few. Full transparency: therapy has been a blessing to me in both my professional and personal life. As related to the professional, it feels good not having to explain certain things because my therapist already understands and gets where I am coming from. I like being able to walk away from the session refreshed, validated and supported. I do understand that therapy is not for everyone, but I recommend trying it if you have not already. Therapy can help you put things into perspective and have a brighter outlook in various areas of your life including being a therapist.
I leave you with these reflective questions: Are you willing to try therapy to help you manage your own thoughts, feelings, and experiences as a therapist? If you are in therapy, what are some benefits of participating in therapy for yourself? What are some other creative ways that you engage in during therapy? Do you think therapy for therapists is beneficial?
Janeisha Hood Rogers is a doctoral candidate in the counselor education and supervision program in Chicago, IL. She is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) that has worked as a therapist in various settings including schools, community mental health agencies and in-patient hospitals. Janeisha is also a social justice advocate and enjoys raising awareness and educating others on mental health topics, social and cultural issues, and holistic healing.