In a recent yoga class, I was speaking to one of the other students who I had just met. She asked me what I did for a living and when I said I was a psychologist, she said that must be an interesting job, but it must be so hard as well, since I must be burdened by having to listen to people’s problems all day long. I’ve been reflecting on this conversation ever since. Yes, it’s absolutely true that this profession can be “heavy” in terms of the subject matter I work with. But I’ve been doing this for ten years and I don’t think I’ve really ever thought of it as a hard job. In fact, I would say that I’m more uplifted by my work with clients than brought down by it. Why? Because people don’t stay down for long! And it is truly a pleasure to watch as people, who first arrived in my office in pretty tough situations, learn about how their thoughts, feelings, and behaviours have all been interacting to perpetuate their circumstances. And then the beauty and courage they show as they change up these thoughts and behaviours and become more accepting of their emotions is all the more inspiring. Truly, in a given day, I would say that no more than 30% of my clients are typically in really dark places. And even when they are, I don’t feel discouraged or brought down because I know that I will be able to help them find the way out, and I hold that hope for the both of us. So although I can completely understand why one would think this would be a really tough job, it’s really quite the opposite most of the time!
In thinking through this, I was inspired to finally start this blog (which I’ve been meaning to start for quite a while). I thought that through it, I could share some of the insights and strategies for dealing with the wide variety of issues that walk through my office door in any given year. In my opinion, mental illness is not an issue of kind, but rather of degree, so I hope that you can find something useful in the posts, even if you aren’t struggling with clinically significant difficulties.
Please feel free to share your thoughts, reactions, or suggestions for future posts. You can post them as a comment or send them to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And thank you for reading.