The “good therapist” isn't necessarily the type of therapist you want to be.
It's not the most actualized version of you as a therapist. It's not even necessarily a particularly effective therapist.
The good therapist is about being seen as good and about being able to reassure ourselves that we are good when maybe we don't feel so sure.
Maybe we bump up against the specter of the good therapist when we have difficult clients and we genuinely feel at a loss for what to do.
Maybe it's when we have something heavy going on in our personal lives and find our minds repeatedly drifting away from a client in session and back to our own problem of the week, because a good therapist wouldn't do that.
Maybe the good therapist peeks through the office window judging us when we go against established norms, like when we use self-disclosure more than other therapists might think we should, or talk more in session than we think we're supposed to, or whatever else gives us the sense that we're stepping outside of bounds.
And the specter of the good therapist has definitely been much more activated for almost all of us during the past two years of the pandemic.
The pandemic has made the gap between who we believe we should be as therapists and who we actually are much, much harder to bridge.
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.