I LOVE THIS ARTICLE.
Many therapists, especially rising ones (such as myself), have had their own traumatizing and intense experiences with mental health issues. Dr. Marsha M. Linehan is a perfect example of this – she is providing exceptional help that she was unable to receive during her lowest period. The fact that she has “come out” as someone who struggled (and very severely at that), is helping to remove the stigma that those who have mental health disorders/issues/illnesses/diseases are unable to live normal lives; finding happiness, success, love, having a family, etc. – It’s more than possible.
In my humble opinion, therapists and psychologists who have had their own troubles have more to pull from and are able to empathize on a deeper level with their clients. In fact, part of the reason that I am studying to become a Marriage/Couple and Family therapist is just that. When in therapy, one needs someone who is able to understand what they are feeling and empathize greatly, thus helping them process feelings and decisions – that’s what I needed. I want to provide for others what I need(ed) and have begun to receive.
But a client does not want to feel as though they are being judged by their therapist – or feel as if their therapist is perfect; has not struggled, made mistakes, and/or felt pain or loss. In order for a client to really make breakthroughs and have insightful moments, one must feel able to become vulnerable with their therapist/counselor. More often than not, it is difficult for us to become vulnerable with those that we feel are “perfect” and appear to have no problems. That is not just within a client/therapist relationship, that’s the way it is in every day life and relationships.
In short – I love this article, regardless of the fact that it is two years old (tomorrow!). Psychologists and therapists like Dr. Marsha M. Linehan are helping to remove the stigmas of mental health and helping create a safer and more comfortable world for all.