Why do we become therapists?
You wouldn’t necessarily think this is a spicy topic, but it is.
Some therapists would say that we as therapists are just people who are unusually compassionate, empathetic, and giving, even selfless or altruistic.
I don’t agree.
I don't think we're more inherently compassionate or giving people than anybody else. Often, we're people who took on caregiver roles in our families of origin and we learned to give in order to get, and ultimately, we’re no less selfish than anyone else.
But if you say that out loud in a group of therapists, as I have, they will bristle. Unless it’s on Facebook or Twitter, and then it will be a flame war.
The first answer is obviously the more flattering version - the version that’s been run through Instagram filters. The second answer might not be as flattering, but it might be more real.
Why does it matter what we think our reasons are for becoming therapists? Why do we need to accept the less flattering portrait of ourselves?
Because whether we acknowledge it or not, it’s in the room with our clients.
Riva Stoudt is a therapist based in Portland, Oregon. When she's not working with patients, she likes to talk about all the things a therapist isn't "supposed" to talk about.