Generally, your therapist should refrain from talking about themselves. That's not why you're there or what you're paying for. But here are three things I wish every therapy consumer knew:
1) It’s not just one hour a week. Out of the hundreds I’ve talked with over the course of my career, I have never met a therapist who didn’t think about their clients between sessions. We think about how to work with your worries and issues, we confidentially consult with colleagues to give you better care, we work on treatment plans, and sometimes just send good wishes out to our clients between visits. We have genuine love for our long-term clients. It’s a different kind of love than many people might be familiar with, but “therapist love” is real and extends beyond the hours, months, and years we work with you. I still fondly remember people I saw in my very first few months of seeing clients in graduate school and hope they’re doing well.
2) We have bad days too. Some days we feel off our game, tired, headachy, or troubled by things in our personal lives. But we’ve learned over the course of our training and career how to work through – or better yet, work with – those things and keep our focus on you. After years and years of practice, we get pretty good at it. And on days we can’t, we do our best or take time for ourselves so we can replenish our reserves and come back to session refreshed.
3) We do this work because we love it. That’s the truth. We don’t do it for money or power or because we can’t do anything else. It's a calling, and we're prepared to take on what you bring in. If you’re someone who worries that you’re burdening us, or you’re too much, or that you’re stressing your therapist out, let me put your mind at ease: you’re not. We became therapists because we desire to understand the human heart and mind and experience. Sharing your light and your darkness with us is an act of profound trust and emotional intimacy that therapists have utmost respect for.