"Helping people who help people"

One of the weirdest things that has happened in my life is following along in the “marrying my dad.”  My father had never taken a psychology course when he decided to shift gears and become a counselor.  My husband did the same thing.  It has been fantastic to have my own in-house counselor so I don’t have to call my dad for all my questions and intrigue with the world.

The one fascinating downside is watching my husband going from “normal”, with some great instincts about things but ultimately a lay person, into a full blown therapist.  While he’s gained a tremendous amount, he also loses the being “normal.”  This is only bad in so far as it makes it harder to market or connect with lay people because he’s awareness and training create a gap in normal vs professional.  He is hyper aware of never giving “advice” because that is not what a therapist does.  But that is what the rest of the world expects, so a huge gap develops!

One of my tasks, made easier by the fact that I have not gone to graduate school, is to always view the world through normal eyes.  Sure, this is a bit challenging being the daughter of a therapist and now wife of one.  But because I don’t have all the knowledge and skills, I can more easily carry the “regular person” hat on when seeing the world.

If I could wave a magic wand, one of the simpliest things I’d do is to make all therapists unable to use professional lingo.  Or maybe in spell check all those terms would pop up “EMDR – too professional, dumb it down!”  I recently read and actually wrote to the therapist, complimenting this person on framing something I’d heard often but never quite understood.  She said, “are you 90% successful and doing well in life, but find you are totally stuck in about 10%?”  She said that is what high functioning people are like.  I was amazed.  I secretly thought high functioning was another way of saying “this person has a high IQ, is a bit arrogant, but because of their intelligence they can probably work through things a bit faster.”

What it helped frame to the reader was this idea that you don’t have to be “crazy” to see a therapist.  You don’t have to be unable to get out of bed, function well in large swaths of your life, smile, be happy, have goals and ambitions.  It just means there is some area, like a part of your car that isn’t quite working right, that may need a little tune up.  The beauty of therapy, unlike the car mechanic, is with greater understanding of your issue, you may have a permanent solution or at least a new lens to not need therapy again because you have the tools to tackle the issue on your own, without having to wait for the next break down to see the mechanic again.  (Obviously some people do need recurring therapy, are on meds which require vigilance, etc.)

I want you to always think about your neighbor, or grandparents, or the cashier at the supermarket when you’re writing anything.  If you picture those people reading or hearing what you’re saying, will they get it??

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