Being in the helping profession – a choice
Being in the helping profession is not for the faint of heart. For me it was a path. A path through interesting topics and situations which proved useful in building a solid foundation of knowledge, skills and abilities. Continuing to do the next right thing, transcending a knowledge pool, evolving in experience and training as through the developmental stages of your own brain. A common misconception is that the best counselors/therapists are sympathetic or are the people who make you 'just feel good' when you talk to them. That is all fine and good and may well be the result. I am certain you can pay someone to fill the parental role, however, it is the primary role of someone in the helping profession to help. This help generally comes with a reality check and is typically unpleasant. This topic always has room for expansion and conjecture. Keep in mind the job is about delivering the bad news more often than the good. Skill rests in the delivery, to do so in a way that inspires and moves a person into action and change is the mission.
It has been stated that, “you cannot give what you do not have”. Therefore, it is important obviously to get your stuff together before you boast your training, education, stacks of books read or experience. You may, clearly be doing all those things in an effort to clear away the past or the problems, in which case, good for you. It would behoove one to complete that process before moving from student to teacher. Psychologically speaking, if you have barely exited the train wreck stage of your own development you are unlikely to have practiced techniques long enough to stay strong and autonomous while in the face of other people’s issues. Life happens and we will have situations come up, it is, then, not the client’s job to do anything for you. It is your job to have the tools necessary to manage all life brings, often without them even being aware of your issue. Without clear boundaries, our own agenda has room to sneak in.
One of the things we are most at risk for is a large ego. I have seen it at all levels, from psychiatrists that refuse to recognize they are out of their field of knowledge, either with issues or medications, to techs in the hospital milieu behaving like petulant children at the monkey cage taunting with imagined superiority. The ego sneaks into the the therapists who takes credit for success. Always keep in mind; “If I take credit for what goes right, means I have to take credit for what goes wrong”. We are facilitators, vessels of information, participators in the three-legged race. As soon as you piggy back them, the point has been lost. Heard by a colleague, “I work harder than they do”, at that moment I thought to myself, “you're doing it wrong”. It became important to recognize that we lead clients not carry them, and also, that when people take responsibility for themselves, they are empowered with the concept of feeling capable, that is when the great aha happens. I don't know what everyone else's purpose is for being in the profession, but this one is mine. This is the fuel for the passion.
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