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On Not Being a Therapist

What does it mean to be a therapist? There is a lot of education and training that goes into becoming a therapist. So much so that we might inadvertently find ourselves identifying with the role of a therapist, the persona more than the person. Certainly there is a place for the training. It makes us more self-aware, it helps us listen for unconscious material, it provides the frame. Indeed, the therapeutic work relies heavily on these attributes in the therapist. But equally vital is the person of the therapist. Without the person, there is no therapy. The technical skills are useful only insofar as they accompany the person of the therapist into the consultation room, not if they obscure. In fact, when the latter occurs, our clients feel it, and they let us know. They make known their wish for us to reclaim those abandoned parts of ourselves and connect not as two roles, therapist and client, but as two people.

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