Why did you choose to become a therapist?
I first learned what psychotherapy meant when I was a high school student, and I found it fascinating that someone could help people overcome issues by talking to them in a meaningful way. I also always thought people are inherently interesting, and getting to know new people is something I enjoy tremendously. As my education in psychology progressed over the years, providing psychotherapy started to feel like a natural inclination. The first therapy session I ever took confirmed it; and I haven't looked back since.
What would you like to tell a client who comes to you for therapy?
Firstly, Welcome, and good job on taking this significant decision that is very hard for so many people! Deciding to start therapy is a very daunting prospect for most people. Next is continuing to do the work over a period of time. You have already done the hardest part by taking that crucial first step, because no therapist, regardless of how trained or qualified, can make a difference with a client who does not want to grow. So there you are, there's no place to go but up now!
What does a first session with you look like?
First sessions with me are all about getting to know the client and making them comfortable. I don't presume to know everything about the client in one session, or even 3, because people cannot be reduced to a few hours of conversation. I do however want to know everything that is relevant to the immediate problem at hand, so that we can start our work sooner rather than later. The first session is also all about me informing the client of the basic ground rules we will have, and what they might expect from therapy in general. More than anything else, the first session is where we see if we fit, if I am right for the client and if they feel I can help them, and to establish comfort.
What has been an important learning of being a therapist?
The most important thing I have taken away from being a therapist is that not every therapist is right for every client, and being a good therapist means knowing one's limitations. No one person knows everything, and this is true of therapists as well. A therapist needs to keep themselves updated of the growth in their field, and they also need to know when they are not informed, trained, or aware enough to make a difference. It is important to seek help from colleagues who may be better suited to the client's needs.
Can you share a quote that resonates with you?
"Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time"
: Ruth Bader Ginsberg