What Being a Therapist Has Taught Me About Mental Health in 2018 - an Excerpt

Posted on Thursday, 15th November 2018

I saw this article on Welldoing.org and really liked it. Sometimes, I think it is interesting for people to hear about counselling from the counsellor’s perspective. Like this blog post I wrote a while ago on why I love being a counsellor.

In this article, Welldoing asked some therapists what they have learned about mental health in 2018. This is what some of them said:

  • "Being a therapist has taught me how powerful simply being present and listening can be and to not get in the way of someone’s autonomy as they explore ideas of living that may work better for them. Instead, following where they lead, and by being caring and understanding, clients can learn to be caring and understanding towards themselves."
  • "I've learnt how deeply environmental factors affect a person's mental health and how many symptoms are simply reactions to living in such an individualistic society. Individualism is a double-edged sword. On one hand it makes for a more dynamic and innovative population but on the other, it leads to more competition, stress, anxiety and loneliness. It seems paradoxical that incidences of loneliness should be rising whilst the population rises."
  • “It's reconfirmed to me that every human being is vulnerable to mental ill-health, psychological pain and emotional distress. No one is immune. We need to be mindful of our own mental health and emotional wellbeing, and also be mindful of those in our circles of influence and our wider community. I have learnt that at the most basic level, we each want to, need to, feel heard. Resentment, frustrations, rage and to a large extent, anxiety, depression and low self-esteem can be traced back to feeling unheard, unseen, unconnected/disconnected in fundamental ways. I have been encouraged by the ability of many to cope with extreme suffering and to eventually recover and begin to live full productive lives when they have had access to and engaged with healthy relationships where they are valued, seen and heard.”
  • “It’s brought home to me two of the things I often say to my clients: 1.Looking after yourself is not optional. Self-care isn’t just for people who come to see me – it’s for all of us, including me. A busy diary has reminded me that I do my best work when I do more than work. 2.Stop comparing your insides to other peoples’ outsides. Stop assuming that other people are okay because they seem okay, and that you’re the only person having those difficulties or feelings. After a lot of internal debate I started a ‘working with anxiety’ group at my business networking group. I thought I might get two or three people – instead 40% of the members attend.”
  • “Being a therapist always feels like a privilege. Witnessing clients uncover and discover themselves in shadow and brilliance is a wholehearted experience. With each client I learn how adept we are at shapeshifting. How we lose sight of ourselves, in trying to be all things to others. I’ve learned that there is a golden thread in mental health. A thread of self-discovery, self-acceptance and self-compassion. It is about remembering and surrendering to who we truly are and then finding a way to live in the world from that place, rather than the constructed place that is borne of, and creates stress and anxiety and fear and guilt.”

An excerpt from an article on Welldoing.org published in October 2018

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