Why I'm Becoming a Therapist (pt. 2)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Yesterday, I talked a little about why I'm going back to school to get my Masters in Marriage & Family Therapy.  It's pretty crazy to think that in not too long, someone will actually be referring to ME as their therapist!?!

Have you ever been to therapy?  Does it scare the socks off you?  Do you picture an ominous couch and someone furrowing their brow at you and taking notes about your childhood?  That's okay.  I've been there too.

I went to my first therapist years ago when I was struggling with depression.  I have gone to non-Christian counselors, licensed Psychiatrists (yes, the ones with the Rx pads), and Christian counselors - both trained and untrained.  If you have a fear based on actually having gone to counseling before, there's a good chance that I've lived a similar experience in the past.

Yet, here I am, climbing the mountain of education to get to the other side....to become the one sitting on the chair holding the notepad, instead of the one laying in a heap of used Kleenexes on the couch (okay, seriously, not every session is like that!)

WHY? Why do I want to become a therapist?

I want to extinguish the stigma that people 
should go to therapy because they have a "problem".

Do you know ANYONE who doesn't have a problem?  Really.  Really?  No problems at all?  Let me just answer that question for you:  No.  You don't.  None of us know anyone who doesn't have a problem.  Mainly, this is because WE are exactly what is wrong with the world!  We are a fallen and selfish and sinful people - yes - all of us.

Yet, (and I'll come right out and say that the church has a long way to go on turning this tide) when we hear that someone is going to counseling or seeing a therapist, what is the first thing that pops in our mind?  Gee, I wonder what their problem is?

For the record, yes, of course when crises arise it is a good time to see someone specially trained to help that person through a particularly volatile time.  But, my point is that over the years, we've pegged this vocation as one to be "the last resort" or somewhere people turn "when nothing else has worked".

Or, we sit back and judge others for going to therapy and think things like "they just don't have enough faith" or "things must really be terrible if they can't get through this on their own".  If you've never thought these things, then I applaud you - but, if you have, then you are exactly like me...before I went to counseling.

Yes, I first went out of crisis.  But, over the years, as I've encountered a wide variety of therapists from many walks of life, I've uncovered an incredible diamond in the rough.  Therapists - the good ones, the ones that love Jesus, the ones that are vitally equipped to pass on information and wisdom - can be a crucial vessel God uses to change lives, save marriages, and restore relationships.

I can tell you this much, the most valuable sessions I've had in therapy haven't been at volatile or shaky times in my life.  It's been when I was the happiest, the most "secure" and therefore, the most motivated times of my life to step outside my comfort zone and reach for the truest, most compassionate person God has called me to be.  The simple truth is that when we feel our best, we are usually our bravest.  And that is a GREAT time to be in therapy.

In earning an education to help others better equip themselves to seek out who God wants them to be, how He wants them to best reflect His character, and why He wants them to develop skills to communicate on His behalf...I hope to help break down this stigma of "hurt people" being the only ones who need it.

We're all hurting.  We're all broken.  And we can ALL play a part in the epic story of healing that Jesus so earnestly invites us to.

*TONIGHT is my first class!  Be sure and check back tomorrow to see how it went!

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