Being a therapist is hard work. It requires extra schooling, usually involves long hours and a plethora of paperwork and can be emotionally draining. But being a therapist also is incredibly rewarding. Here, six therapists briefly share why they love their work.
Jeffrey Sumber, M.A., psychotherapist, author and teacher.
I love being a psychotherapist because I have found no better way to do work that is meaningful and transformative for others while simultaneously transforming, supporting and facilitating my own personal growth and transformation. And get paid for it. For me, it is the greatest scenario under the sun.
John Duffy, Ph.D, clinical psychologist and author of The Available Parent: Radical Optimism for Raising Teens and Tweens.
There are a few reasons I love being a psychotherapist. First, I find it to be a singular honor and privilege to play a part in the stories of my clients. Also, I cannot think of a more rewarding career, one that is designed solely to decrease suffering and improve quality of life. Finally, I celebrate those moments where I see hope in the eyes of a client, or a recognition of her own greatness, or a long-abandoned hearty laugh. There’s nothing I’d rather do with my life. I consider myself so lucky to do this job.
Shari Manning, Ph.D, a licensed professional counselor in private practice and author of Loving Someone with Borderline Personality Disorder.
I love being a therapist because I love helping people to look at the variables that are affecting their behavior (thoughts, emotions and actions) and helping them to respond in different ways. Then, we go back and look at the how the variables change. It’s so much fun when the client and I get things figured out and watch what happens.
Robert Solley, Ph.D, a San Francisco clinical psychologist who specializes in couples.
Doing therapy is largely a ‘flow’ experience that is rewarding in itself [and] there’s nothing like the moment of helping a person to have a new experience of themselves or their partners in a way that opens them up to a fuller, richer life.
Amy Pershing, LMSW, director of the Pershing Turner Centers in Annapolis, and clinical director for the Center for Eating Disorders in Ann Arbor.
I cannot imagine doing anything else. I wear a number of different hats as a program director, but I am very clear that no matter what, I intend to always have a clinical practice as well. I feel continually honored to walk with these women and men on their journeys. To see people move inward and finally claim their voice, to see them reunite with an amazing Self that has been waiting to emerge; that is why I do this. There truly is beauty waiting in the shadows, if only we have the courage to look. Being a psychotherapist keeps my faith in the human race.
I often say that it’s “an honor” to do this work, but I’ll give an example. I feel amazed and humbled when a client says: “I’ve never told anyone this before, but…” At that moment, we enter sacred territory. The requisite trust and rapport have been built and now it’s time to take things to a level never before experienced. I treat whatever follows like a Faberge egg or a newborn baby, because that’s exactly what it is. Delicate, valuable, and an honor to hold. I essentially earn my living watching stories of strength and perseverance unfold before me. I get to join them and help them along the way as we share the obstacles and successes together. I’m honored.