BBM conversation with my friend Wynette:
Wynette: So, how can I become a therapist?
Me: Get a master’s in social work
Wynette: Hmm girl, you wouldn’t believe the things the students have come to me about. Why me though?
Me: Cause your open, understanding, and nonjudgmental. You don’t have to be a therapist to get that. You have to be a great human being, and you already have a Ph.D in that.
Wynette: You really mean that?
Me: Of course, but even if I don’t, the testimony is peoples’ draw and trust of you with their feelings.
Wynette: Very true, today was crazzzzyyy
Me: People pay to see me…at times it’s not a real connection to be honest…but people come up to you because their spirit tells them to, is real.
So, as a therapist I get plenty of questions about me trying to navigate a person (or people’s) problems and what in the world possessed me to do it. What made me get into the field? What population do I want to work with? Did I start because I like getting into people’s business (which is partially true). But I always get the inquiry from people who try to figure out if the calling is for them from the way people responds or connect to them.
The human connection does not need a degree and license in order to make it legit. In fact, when you are a therapist, there is the awkward process of trying to find the connection between you and whoever is in the room. Not everyone that comes in my office wants to pour their soul out and talk about their abusive pasts, troubled relationships, and irrational thinking from the jump. You have kids who were put in these chairs by their parents because they have no idea of “what else to do”. You have mandates for people who are in the court system and have no idea what they need to talk about in the first place or don’t see that they have a problem. And the ones who come into the room to speak about their experience and in those 50 minutes are so intense that they feel that their experiences are too painful — and they don’t come back. They just aren’t ready to sit in a room with a therapist or become vulnerable with a stranger. Just one false move, word or lack of understanding can make or break a person’s path to recovery. I am more on edge in a clinical setting because I can easily lose someone’s trust if they lose the ability in me to believe I can help them. We are both fighting pressures we have to sit in a room and deal with. Someone pays me to make it comfortable for us both to sit in the room together.
For someone to come up to my friend Wynette, a master’s in English, college professor, and motivational speaker, a person whose light shines from her eyes to her toes and even out of the locks of her hair, isn’t surprising at all. In fact, this shouldn’t even be a question. The question should be how come more people don’t see it. We humans doubt our ability to heal each other and miss that we have all we need to find the answers to what is ailing around us. Are there more critical issues that need professional attention? Of course! But that doesn’t mean that those situations wouldn’t also benefit from someone just simply sitting down and saying “I will listen”. At times, the only way we should be paying for help is with our time.
*Serious ailments and emotional issues just might need the hand of a professional counselor. Check in with your doctor or physician to see what treatments and supports are right for you.