I’ve been doing a lot of posts lately on therapist burnout, difficult clients, and accepting that some people don’t want to be helped. I decided that I should really do something more positive. I think sometimes it’s easy to forget the fact that we do such important work. No one else can do what we do. We study psychology for a decade, spend years in the field honing our craft, and then selflessly give ourselves to our clients. We save lives. And not only do we save lives, but we make those lives better than they’ve ever been. That is huge. That is priceless.
Recently I started watching Mad Men. I know, I’m probably the last person on Earth that hadn’t watched it. In the show, Don Draper’s wife starts seeing a “psychiatrist”. A few things about this really rubbed me the wrong way. First of all, the man is clearly a psychoanalyst. There’s already enough confusion between the differences between a psychiatrist, psychologist, and counselor. But I digress. That’s not even the worst of it. In the show, the therapist is seen doing absolutely nothing. He literally just sits there. Here’s a clip from the show to demonstrate what I mean:
Although I realize “it’s just a show”, the problem is that for the majority of people, this is there only exposure to therapists. It’s not like Dentists, where everybody goes starting in childhood. For most people, the media is their only exposure to what it’s like to see a therapist. There are people watching this show that assume that’s reality or close to it. They think that therapists don’t do anything, are overpaid, lazy, and that anyone could do that job. The reality is actually the opposite, but nobody ever sees an accurate depiction of what we do, and that’s a shame. Because all of the therapists I know work really hard, have given everything for their clients, and earn every penny.
Never forget that you do important work. We save lives, restore families, bring hope, save marriages, and provide an immeasurable service to society.