Psychologists Go to Therapy Too

28 July, 2020
Psychologists are trained to help other people with their mental health and well-being. But what about the struggles and issues they face? After all, they aren't superheroes. Psychologists go to therapy too!
 

There are many different branches of psychology. A psychologist’s job is to help people improve their quality of life. But who helps the helpers? Do psychologists go to therapy too?

Many myths surround this particular profession. Some people believe that psychologists have to be immune to mental health problems because “only crazy people” need therapy. There’s a perception that psychologists aren’t allowed to be normal people. When many practicing professionals try to express that they’re suffering in some way, they usually hear “But aren’t you supposed to be a therapist?”

The truth is that, although therapists are great at helping others, they also have their own lives. They have issues and conflicts just like anyone else. So yes, psychologists go to therapy too. In fact, taking care of your own mental health is an important aspect of being a professional mental health care provider.

Psychologists go to therapy because they’re people first

Don’t forget that psychology is a profession. Yes, psychologists have many mental health resources at their disposal. However, that doesn’t make them superheroes. They have feelings and thoughts, just like other people. They want to improve certain aspects of their lives, they struggle with facing certain problems, and they have hopes and dreams. Also, they suffer from biases and issues that sometimes require professional help.

In broad strokes, we can say that psychotherapy is for people who feel the need to improve and understand aspects of their life related to cognition, emotions, and behaviors. Also, if some aspect of the way that you function in the world is affected, it’s best to get professional help.

 
Someone talking to a mental health professional.

Psychologists also go to therapy because they’re humans and they’re interested in things such as:

  • Maximizing their abilities.
  • Understanding more about themselves.
  • Immersing themselves in their behaviors and inner selves.
  • Understanding how to face difficult problems.
  • Learning how to manage emotions.
  • Feeling better.
  • Finding a safe space in which to express their anxieties and motivations.
  • Seeking professional advice.
  • Finding conflict resolution strategies.
  • Seeing their problems from different perspectives.
  • Empowering themselves.
  • Solving problems.

Now, some people believe that being a psychologist means that you can solve your own problemsThat isn’t the case. While some of the skills you have as a therapist will come in handy, you just can’t face some problems alone.

  • Firstly, because it’s impossible to be objective about your own issues.
  • Also, because your circumstances can incapacitate you when it comes to intervening in your own life.
  • Finally, remember that psychology is a very broad field, and a psychologist trained in one branch may need someone who specializes in another.

Psychologists help each other

 

Although psychologists offer their services to others, that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t think of themselves. That’s why psychologists go to therapy too and reap the benefits it provides.

As we mentioned above, some people believe that psychologists are superheroes. Their ability to stay calm in a crisis and help other people deal with their mental health can make it seem like they have it all figured out. However, this idealization distorts the truth.

Psychologists go to therapy to get better at their job

Psychologists also go to therapy because it’s important for their professional development. Sometimes, therapists aren’t sure how to deal with certain situations due to transference. In other words, they feel emotions towards particular patients or they identify with the patient in some way. When we say emotions, we aren’t talking exclusively about romantic love.

The desire of the analyst is implied in this kind of process, as Lacan suggests in Transference: The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book VIIIAnd while this might happen in all psychotherapeutic processes, if the therapist is incapable of continuing the therapy with a certain patient because of the feelings they trigger in them, it’s important to get help. Nearly every branch of psychology suggests this course of action. It’s a very important part of psychoanalysis.

Another reason why psychologists go to therapy is that they aren’t comfortable with certain subjects or they aren’t sure how best to intervene with some patients. Thus, they go to psychotherapy to get training and suggestions from another mental health professional. Their therapist can help them figure out what’s going on and evaluate the effectiveness of the therapy they’re providing their patients.

 

When a psychologist goes to therapy, it’s an opportunity for personal and professional development. In addition, they protect the patient and they protect themselves. Having the support and backing of another professional is crucial to figuring out what to do, how to manage the case, or if they should take themselves off the case. It’s an important growth opportunity on many levels.

A woman talking to her psychologist.

Benefits for psychologists who go to therapy

  • Better emotional management.
  • Stress and tension relief.
  • A greater understanding of themselves.
  • Professional growth.
  • Being able to face work issues.
  • Positively contributing to their environment.
  • A way to complement their theoretical training.

Psychologists do have an advantage when it comes to seeking out help because they’re intimately familiar with the benefits of the process. They also understand the importance of mental health, so they’ll be more likely to go to psychotherapy.

 
  • Lacan, J. (1960/1961). Seminario 8. La transferencia en su disparidad subjetiva, su pretendida situación sus excursiones técnicas. Barcelona, España: Paidós.