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Jackie Schuld Art Therapy Blog

I’d Like Some Real Talk about What It’s Like to be a Therapist

As therapists, our profession is designed around the other.

How we can help the other.

Listen to the other.

Hold space for the other.

Use different strategies and techniques for the other.

We’re very, very good about talking about the other.

What we’re not so good about is talking about ourselves. About therapists.

Tucson Therapist Jackie Schuld makes an illustration of a black and white character with  flaming hair who is holding one hand across their mouth and one hand up
"We Don't Talk About Us" Illustration by Jackie Schuld

Yes, we talk about how WE can be better for THEM. But we don’t talk about how WE can better for US.

We don’t talk about this profession for the sake of US.

We don’t talk about how we can help US.

How we can listen to US.

How we can make this profession great for US.

I don’t know a single therapist who isn’t worn out. That’s a problem.

Every time I talk to another therapist about my challenges and frustrations with being a therapist, they heave a sigh of, “Me too!”

Why is a profession rooted in mental health full of professionals that are exhausted? Because of the lie that our profession has to be all about THEM.

We’ve got to stop erasing ourselves from our own profession. We need to talk about the realities of being a therapist. The challenges. The demands. The parts that don’t work for us. The parts that suck the life out of us. The parts that don’t feel good.

Why don’t we talk about these things?

I think we’re afraid. And rightfully so. Afraid that if we name our feelings and experiences, we’ll be told, “Well that’s a YOU problem.” YOU need to be more resourced. YOU need to do more self care. YOU need to be more balanced. YOU need to be more resilient. YOU need to do more of your own therapy. YOU need to address your own issues.

This is gaslighting at its finest. We’ve got to stop gaslighting ourselves.

We’re buying into harmful black and white thinking. There is a middle ground and we can find it.

And that begins with us talking about the real challenges we experience. When we do that, we’ll see we’re not alone in what we’re seeing and experiencing and feeling and thinking.

That it is not a ME problem. It is an US problem.

Only when we develop the necessary awareness can we start finding solutions.

Start developing and testing new strategies and techniques FOR US.

Start making new systems and structures for us.

Start making life-enhancing changes for us.

I want more real talk about life as therapists.

About the things that are hard to hold.

About the parts of our profession that suck the energy out of us.

About the difficulty of financially, emotionally, or mentally surviving in our profession.

We have the right to name these things. We’ve just been trained not to.

It’s time to flip that script.

I want to talk about us.


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