By Jennifer Nurick

I’ve been a therapist for over 20 years, and I still go to therapy.

As a therapist, my professional life is dedicated to guiding others through their emotional landscapes, navigating their darkest valleys, and celebrating their highest peaks. Yet, despite the expertise and techniques I possess, I am not immune to life’s complexities. I, too, am on a journey of self-discovery, one that leads me to sit on the other side of the therapy room. Here’s why I believe in the power of therapy, not only for my clients but for myself as well.

A shared human experience

Therapy is often misunderstood as a resource only for those who face mental health challenges or critical life crises. However, the truth is that therapy is a space for everyone. It is a testament to the fact that we all have stories, traumas, dreams, and fears. As a therapist, seeking therapy acknowledges a shared human experience. It’s about embracing vulnerability and the continuous process of learning and growing.

Discovering the unknown

There are some things that other people know about me that I am completely unaware of. My therapist can help me see those things and decide if they are a way of being that serves me or not. They can also help me discover what is unknown to both of us. For example, the irritation I feel about something, when I dive into it, might be connected to a much younger part of myself that needs healing.

An ongoing education

Therapy is also my classroom. Each session is a learning opportunity, an experience that hones my skills and expands my perspectives. Through my own therapy, I explore different techniques and approaches that enrich my practice. Its professional development is grounded in personal experience. I only use modalities of psychotherapy that I have extensive experience of being a client in.

Challenging the stigma

One of my aims is to dismantle the stigma surrounding therapy, and what better way than to lead by example? By openly acknowledging my own therapy, I hope to communicate that mental health is just as important as physical health and that seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness. In fact, I think of my therapy as a kind of ‘preventative medicine’ that keeps me aware and supported through the good and the bad.

Refining empathy and compassion

Being a client in therapy fine-tunes my empathy and compassion. It reminds me of the courage it takes to open up and the trust clients place in their therapists. This experience consistently refreshes my appreciation for my client’s journeys and challenges me to provide the same safe, empathetic environment that I seek in my therapy.

The therapist’s therapist

In therapy, I explore the personal triggers and biases that, if left unchecked, could cloud my judgment or impact my neutrality. Having a therapist’s therapist allows me to engage in self-reflection and maintain the professionalism required to support my clients effectively.

Personal healing and growth

Like anyone else, I have a history of challenges and pain. Therapy has been a refuge for me to heal and grow from past experiences. It’s where I can be just another person looking to understand myself better, not the expert, but the explorer.

Modelling the process

When I share with clients that I also attend therapy (when appropriate and without divulging personal details) it normalises the process. It models a commitment to mental health and can often encourage clients to invest fully in their therapy.

The ethics of self-care

Ethically, therapists are bound to provide the best possible care to their clients. This ethical duty extends to self-care because an overwhelmed therapist cannot be an effective one. Therapy is an integral part of my self-care routine, ensuring that I am fully present for my clients.

To be a therapist in therapy is not a paradox but a profound alignment with the core values of the profession. It reflects an understanding that we are all walking a path of continuous growth and that sometimes, we need a helping hand to guide us on the way. It’s a commitment to authenticity and to the well-being of both the client and the therapist.

As therapists, we must remember that self-care isn’t self-indulgent; it’s self-preserving. Going to therapy is a humbling, enriching, and ultimately vital part of my life, which allows me to give the best of myself to those who seek my help. It’s the silent yet powerful declaration that none of us, no matter our expertise, are ever done learning about the complexities of the human spirit.

About the author

Jennifer Nurick (Jen) specialised in healing anxious attachment, attachment injuries and childhood trauma. She is a licensed Clinical Psychotherapist, Couple Counsellor, Energetic Healer, author and host of the Psychotherapy Central podcast.

She is the founder and voice of Psychotherapy Central and a Director of the International Energetic Healing Association. She has been working in the healing space for over 20 years, combining spiritual psychotherapy, Internal Family Systems, Focusing, and EMDR therapy. She offers transformational courses to help individuals and couples heal trauma and build secure long-term relationships.

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