As a psychotherapist, what do you wish everyone would know?

A) I’m a psychotherapist, not a psychologist. Psychologists have a degree in psychology. I do not. I have a Masters Degree in Social Work, and post-graduate training in psychoanalytic psychotherapy. There are many kinds of mental health clinicians. Psychotherapist doesn’t refer to the degree, so I prefer that term. Psychiatrists have medical degrees.

B) Life advice is cheap. Most anyone can tell you what you should do. Most people know what they “should” do, but have a hard time actually doing it. Knowing what you should do and doing it are light years apart.

C) Reference “D” People are ALL different. Doing things to please others because they think it’s what you are supposed to do, is not necessarily going to work for you. Comparing yourself to others is not helpful. There will always someone doing better or worse, and the comparison is neither helpful or productive.

D) Reference “C”. Stop worrying about what is “Normal”. It’s different for everyone, and essentially meaningless.

E) Almost nothing is black or white. Almost everything is shades of grey. If you find yourself thinking in black and white terms, something is most likely wrong.

F) Reference point “I”. Things are often not what they appear to be. The popular kid in school, or the celebrity who seems to have everything, may be miserable, and may wish they had what you do.

G) The grass often seems greener on the other side, but most of our issues are within us. Changing the setting often doesn’t help as much as changing yourself. Obviously, there are exceptions, and if you live in a war zone, or are in an abusive relationship, or don’t have money for food, than concrete change IS what you need first and foremost. In many circumstances, however, you take your problems with you.

H) Referencing point “E”, we all exist on a spectrum of mental health. Nobody is completely healthy or unhealthy. Everyone has internal issues they struggle with.

I) We all see the world through our own distorted lens. There is no objective reality. Yes, that’s a tree you see, but it may look different to you than your neighbor. You may see a beautiful tree and they see an ugly one, or some such variation.

J) We are largely a product of our environment with some psychological predispositions. There is no such thing as “leaving it all behind”. Everything we have ever experienced has shaped us, most significantly those things that occurred in our earliest years, including those we have no memory of, Understanding these things on a cognitive and emotional level is a key part in not letting them completely determine who we are. They will always be a factor, but by making them conscious, and truly understanding them, we can alter the psychological form they take / how they manifest, and the power they have over who we are.

2018-06-19T21:24:49+00:00 May 17th, 2018|