What It's Like to be a Therapist Intern in Therapy
I'm a first year in a Marriage and Family Therapy Master's Program who just started seeing a therapist myself. Its kinda strange but also kinda awesome.
- •Getting to therapy was still really freaking hard.I definitely gained a new appreciation for my clients. Gathering the courage to call for the intake session was a months-long process, and getting myself to that appointment took encouragement from my cohort members. Therapy is uncomfortable - I was surprised by how much I resisted going because of that.
- •I was pretty picky about the type of therapist I wanted.Because I'm in a very intensive MFT peogram, I couldn't decide whether I wanted to see an MFT or if I should take a break from talking about it. Ultimately I decided that MFT is my language right now and I wanted a therapist who could speak it.
- •I had a beg for a lower fee.Cuz super poor grad student.
- •I'm very appreciative of her understanding of where I'm at emotionally and being willing to work with me.I imagine it's weird for HER to have a therapist as a client. I know the theory behind the questions she's asking most of the time. But honestly I'm proud of how much I've been able to let go of the therapist side of my brain during that hour and allow myself to be the client.
- •It's nice to have an hour where I can talk about myself.So much of my day is spent thinking about others and how to help them through their issues. Getting myself into therapy has given me a space where that is not the expectation of me.
- •I have learned from my therapist.Not only has she helped me reframe my views on things, but she's (unconsciously) taught me about being a professional in the field and given me ideas for when I have my own practice.
- •I feel like I made much faster progress.Because I usually understand the theory she's working from, I can put together pieces that she's showing me faster than non-therapist clients. I think.
- •It doesn't stop me from feeling like a failure sometimes though.I still feel kinda hypocritical though, seeking therapy while providing therapy for others. Like a "how can I help improve my clients' lives when I can't even improve my own" kinda thing.
- •But it's also helped my clients.I've heard my professors talk about this, but often when a therapist seeks therapy for herself and makes progresses, her cases will make progress too. Cuz the therapist's blind spots or biases have been reduced. This has happened with a couple of my cases, and it's pretty cool.
- •Overall I'm proud of myself for getting the help I need during this incredibly difficult and stressful graduate program.
- •I hope people reach out for help, either from professionals or from people in their life, if they need it!
- •PSA: www.psychologytoday.com is a good way to find a therapist.And if you're a student, don't be deterred by the listed price. More often than not, therapists are willing to adjust it to meet the need of students. After all, we're in this profession because we want to help people, however possible.