All through grad school while pursuing my license and while gaining my EMDR certification, I had a supervisor. The comfort and assurance of having a mentor to guide me through moments of indecision and doubt, and to catch things in my blind spot that could have held me back, was an invaluable part of my growth as a therapist.
Once I started my private practice and all my training was behind me, I no longer had supervision built into my routine. I didn’t even really think about it again until I recently found myself wondering how to handle a tricky client. That’s when it hit me just how valuable expert advice can be.
I come from a very psychodynamic program and became familiar with the concepts of transference and countertransference, that is, the transfer of emotions between clients and therapists. I meet with so many people each week that I need to stop to ask myself: what of this mental burden I’m carrying is really mine and what is theirs? And because I use a collaborative therapy approach, can it ever really be separated?
Even though I’ve been a therapist for years, I still find myself frequently in awe of what happens in therapy. Clients arrive at my door, often nervously, and bare their soul. They share their deepest insecurities and most vulnerable confessions. As therapists, we respect that space and respond to them the best we can. At times, it can be a heavy burden to carry.
It is very easy to get distracted by the business side of your practice and get into a bad habit of not being truly tuned in. It is easy to forget the gravity of what we do and the influence we hold in people’s lives. I encourage you to take time to pause and ask yourself if you are showing up the way you want to be. Would you benefit from the support and guidance of a mentor? Chances are, if you’re a human being, the answer is yes!
Certainly, we can acknowledge that we all need help from time to time. Look for support groups you can join, ask a friend for a standing appointment to talk, or even search for a mentor you can pay for consultations! Therapy is important work, and for the sake of our clients and ourselves, we need to remember to ask for help when we need it.