In this monthly series, we turn the tables, and interview clinicians all about their professional and personal lives. They answer questions on everything from the challenges of being a therapist to the rewards. They also share their advice for living a fuller life along with how they cope with stress.
This month we have the pleasure of interviewing Gerti Schoen, a psychoanalyst and couples counselor in private practice in New York City and Hoboken, New Jersey. Before she immigrated to the U.S., Schoen worked as a professional print and radio journalist in her native country of Germany.
Schoen is the author of The Gentle Self, a self-help book about depression and anxiety, and a blog of the same name here at Psych Central. Her new book Buddha Betrayed is about spiritual abuse and the pitfalls of working with a spiritual teacher.
1. What’s surprised you the most about being a therapist?
Just how similar we all are. Everyone struggles with periods of sadness or anxiety, couples bicker about similar things as my husband and I do. The ‘human condition’ that life isn’t perfect applies to everybody.
2. What’s the latest and greatest book you’ve read related to mental health, psychology or psychotherapy?
The one I frequently recommend is Tara Brach’s Radical Acceptance, a much-needed book about how to foster self-compassion. I very much like Susan Cain’s Quiet, which will reassure all the introverts out there that there is nothing wrong with being an introvert. Right now I am reading You Can Go Home Again by Monica McGoldrick. It’s a stunning account of how our family histories make us into who we are.
3. What’s the biggest myth about therapy?