Social Work Programs

May 6, 2009

Social Work Programs: On Becoming a Therapist

When I was a teen I had a close friend who went to counseling and seemed to really benefit. She had a lot of tension with her mother. I always liked literature for the in-depth analysis of human motivation. My high school didn’t have psychology courses so it really was in reading literature that deeper questions about analyzing one’s family relationships, understanding love and looking at depression were studied. Of course, my own self-reflections since being a kid and talks with my friends also were the beginnings of my interest in becoming a therapist.

I was very influenced in 10th grade by reading Herman Hesse’s book Siddhartha and his reflections on the impermanence of life, suffering and fact that we are all going to die. In college, Yalom’s book “When Nietzsche Wept” had a lot of insights about therapy and the process of letting go. It was a story about looking into one’s underlying attractions and motives.

The deeper questions that I now encounter both for myself and my clients as a therapist is on letting go and attachment. Why do we repeat things that we are tired of? What does it take to let go and move to a higher level of life? When I see how my clients are stuck, instead of getting frustrated, it is helpful for me to see what I too do that keeps me in my same spots and why we stay there. In Buddhism, this is called self-cherishing.

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