The Importance of Personal Therapy

 If you are studying to be a psychologist, or thinking of becoming one, you may want to think about entering your own personal therapy. It is beneficial to both parties if you are able to identify your triggers, blind spots, and have an understanding of what it’s like to be a client yourself.

There is often a stigma that going to therapy means you have a “problem.” Of course you may have a problem, a concern, or an issue you want to work out. Who among us doesn’t?

Growing up in a house with a psychologist ( my dad is an analyst) the idea of being in personal therapy did not carry a stigma. I was under the impression that most adults in psychology programs are enrolled in their own personal therapy. However, this is not the case for many people and the idea of going to therapy might not be accepted or even a known option. Therefore, it can be a new, and nerve-wracking idea to call a clinician and schedule an appointment.  This is completely understandable.

If you want to be a therapist, it may also be a great idea to link up with a therapist who practices a theory you’re interested in. My first therapist was a young female doing her APA accredited internship at the university, and had to leave at the end of the year. Therefore, I had to find another therapist in Philadelphia. I thought, how can I challenge myself? I thought that seeing a 70 year old man who came from a different theoretical perspective would be different. Now that I have moved once more to Boston, I decided I wanted a therapist who was a female and had her Psy.D, and who came from an eclectic viewpoint.  I have learned different things from each therapist, and have seen how their techniques have influenced the therapy I do with my clients.

If you are considering entering a doctoral program, consider entering your own therapy. It can be frightening, but it can also be a wonderful personal and learning experience.

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