Each and one of us go through emotional struggles, as this is part of life. Evidently, this doesn’t exclude psychologists, who have their share of challenges they have to surpass. As a matter of fact, official information points that physicians are the demographic sector with the highest suicide rates. The rate of suicidal thoughts among psychologist, in particular, is rather alarming – 42 percent of psychologists having experienced suicidal behavior or intention. But why is that?
The Struggles Psychologists Go Through
The very nature of a psychologist’s work exposes him/her to the darkest side of people’s minds. When it comes to burnouts, in particular, psychologists are more inclined to place other people’s needs above their own. More about topic you can read in the why be moral essay.
Therefore, a psychologist must learn how to control his/her emotions regarding traumatic incidents, when discussing with clients about traumas and strong emotions. In addition to that, psychologists have a higher level of sensitivity to people and their environment. Concurrently, psychologists are predisposed to isolate themselves, especially when struggling emotionally.
What is more, the lack of therapeutic success, and the great demands of administrative duties linked to their work can notably contribute to burnout.
Depression is, of course, another triggering factor. The greater majority of psychologists experience symptoms of depression, having the tendency of withdrawing themselves from colleagues and the society. On a different note, there is also the risk of vicarious traumatization, countertransference and compassion fatigue – which are phenomena that affect the health practitioner’s affective, behavioral and cognitive response to clients.
Do Psychologists Seek Mental Help?
In spite of these realities, many psychologists are still resistant to seeking mental help. The main motives worth mentioning include social stigma, fear of emotion, fear of treatment, and self-disclosure. While we could argue that these impediments exist for almost everyone, it would appear that psychologists are mostly influenced by them.
Essentially, the stigma of seeking therapy is a fearful concept for most therapists, considering that family members, friends and even clients could convey them differently. In addition to that, seeking therapy might make certain people question a psychologist’s capabilities as a professional.
In spite of all these obstacles, do psychologists go to therapy? The answer is yes.
Self-Care Is of Utmost Importance
We are all humans – regardless of our chosen profession. Psychologists sit for hours and hours, listening to other people’s problems and traumas, helping them comprehend and deepen their understanding of their own selves, and giving them the resources they need to heal themselves. To be frank, though, psychologists aren’t trained regarding self-care.
Whilst going through emotional struggles, you are expected to be an ethical and efficient therapist, and help your clients thrive. One of the reasons why self-care is even more critical for therapists is that we ought to provide a healthy self to patients. It could be safe to say that safe-care is paramount for maintaining your competence as a psychologist.
Therefore, because I believe self-care is of utmost importance, taking counseling sessions is highly recommended. During counseling someone, you ought to get into their own shoes, you have to carry their most emotional and traumatic struggles in order to truly comprehend them. After a range of intense sessions, we have to detox ourselves, mentally speaking.
Even if, as psychologists, we are fully aware of the damages and emotional struggles we go through with every mental session, there is always the risk of projecting these negative feelings onto patients. Essentially, self-knowledge will help you deter entering this trap. Nevertheless, it is not enough – which is why it’s quintessential for psychologists to seek mental health support.
Compassion Fatigue – An Immense Challenge
What does the term compassion fatigue entail? It goes without saying that psychology is a rewarding profession, but the challenges are noteworthy, as we’ve pointed beforehand. When working with clients that have abuse and trauma history, you could greatly benefit from talking with a professional you can trust. In this way, you can cope with that traumatization, without letting you grow onto you.
If you don’t get it out, this could further impair your capability – as a psychologist, to continue doing that work in an efficient manner. Additionally, I believe that going to therapy is important for assessing our self-care strategies, and pinpointing our innate vulnerabilities to addiction or burnout.
Therapy gives you access to unconditional positive regard, compassion, and assistance in learning how to cope with negative emotions. Knowing all these in theory is good, but therapy grants you palpable compassion and assistance.
In summary, going to therapy shouldn’t be frowned upon – whether you are a mental professional or not. This is my viewpoint of the topic. Going to therapy gives you a chance to open up and to reveal your deepest thoughts and struggles. And sometimes, it is good to ask for help, as even psychologists, with all the preparation they go through, need to look after themselves in order to be capable of helping others.