September 25 is National Psychotherapy Day. The theme this year is Tell Your Therapy Story.
In my blog post Why Your Therapist Should Be In Therapy, I shared how counsellors, social workers, psychologists and psychotherapists should, and often do, spend a significant amount of time in the client’s chair before working within the helping professions.
Irvin Yalom, Author of the Gift of Therapy and long-time rock star of the therapeutic community writes,
‘It is, of course, mandatory for people entering this field to have a long personal experience with therapy. I know I certainly have and have come back to it several times whenever I have had some kind of crisis in my life.’
Most good psychotherapy trainings either require or recommend their students participate in their own therapy for the duration of the training but for most therapists, we found ourselves in therapy long before we were required to do so.
As a way of breaking down the stigma about going to therapy, and with the National Psychotherapy Day theme in mind, I asked my colleagues for their therapy stories. Here they are…
By Emma Cameron
“I came to understand – from the inside, not from being told – some of the ways that complex trauma had deeply impacted my family, and consequently myself. My ‘normal, uneventful childhood’ had actually been in a family where a small band of deeply wounded, brave, creative and loving people were constantly having to make huge, mostly unconscious adaptations in order to pick their way through fields of emotional landmines, every single day. And where people make emotional adaptations around pockets of trauma, there are often huge costs in terms of various levels of functioning, and in the capacity to be happy and to feel safe. Trauma isn’t always visible, and the effects can be deep and profound, reaching right into your core.”
By Amanda Robbins
“It’s been a journey that’s sometimes been challenging, often irritating, at times frightening, often enlightening, always engaging, and, at times surprising – and most importantly for me – deeply creative.”
By Vinodha Joly
“This was a pivotal experience for me, both in my personal growth and in my growth as a psychotherapist, for this was when I learned experientially that “it is only by cultivating self-compassion that one can find true healing” – and it was my therapist’s own authentic and compassionate stance towards me that helped me find it.”
Recovery Warriors: My Bulimia Recovery
By Jodie Gale (Published on Recovery Warriors on 26 September)
“Through the long-term relationship where my therapist provided me with a safe and secure base, a sacred space, and via her years of love and unconditional positive regard – I was able to put my eating disorder out of a job. I have been recovered for over 20 years.”
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