In order to become a therapist in North Carolina you must obtain your Masters and then take a state test to receive your license. Both of those things required attending classes, writing papers, studying all of the theories, taking tests to prove your efficiency, etc. While I have a piece of paper for both of these hanging in my office, I believe there are two other things far more important in the therapy world…
EXPERIENCE and THE ABILITY TO RELATE
I have life experience in a lot of the areas people are struggling with on a daily basis. Depression, anxiety, panic attacks, grief and loss, codependency, self-esteem, marital discord, parenting issues, family struggles, etc. have all gripped me at one time or another. I have walked through the depths of losing a parent to cancer. Codependency is a beast I have tackled several times. Marital discord is no joke and something I wouldn’t change for anything because I learned so much about who I am.
All of my life experiences have afforded me the ability to relate to those who are hurting. It has been a privilege to sit with others in their most vulnerable state and witness the walls crumble, as they feel safe and secure in my presence. Relationships are the key. We were created to be relational with one another. I believe that relationships are the demise and the creation of all emotional well-being.
THINK ABOUT IT…
You are relating with people all day long and how you interpret each person can change your emotional state. We can start simple and talk about the waiter/waitress who is having a bad day and completely messes up your order. You will have an emotional reaction to that…somewhere on the compass of compassion to animosity. Those types of interactions happen rather quickly and typically we can move past whatever the emotion is as soon as we leave the restaurant.
But let’s look at our daily relationships that have significant meaning in our lives…our co-workers, friends, significant others, children, parents, etc. We are unable to walk away from the table and probably never have another interaction with these people again. Our expectations and assumptions are held at a higher standard and can wreak havoc on our emotional state. The friend who talked about you behind your back or the child who screamed, “I hate you” from the top of the stairs will impact your heart on a much deeper level. They can cause you to question your worth and the very core of who you are.
I challenge you to think about your relationships and your emotional well-being. Are you able to recognize everyone has a story and the feedback they are giving you may not have anything to do with you? Or do you struggle with not taking things personal and allow others feelings to become your own?