My Job is Better than Your Job

One of the things we therapists know is that job satisfaction is an important factor in the overall well-being of our clients. But, what about us? I am occasionally asked, “How do you do what you do? Isn’t it depressing to listen to people’s problems all day?” My response is generally, “No, because I get to see people get better and with a little luck, I get to be a part of what helps them get better."   Don’t get me wrong, there is occasionally a day or a week that gets to me but I like getting to play some part of the solution.  Being an easily bored person, I do like variety in what I do. Because I see kids as well as adults, I might spend part of the day on the floor doing play therapy with a three-year-old and part of the day listening to the angst of being a teenager. I might spend more of my day doing EMDR with someone’s trauma issues and part of the day helping an older adult struggle with finding purpose in life after retirement when they are very much missing some of the physical abilities they once had.  My population of age groups and issues ebbs and flows at times and that is okay, but I just could not do without the kids I see. They are the real icing on the cake when it comes to making my job special.   One of my greatest regrets as a therapist is I did not make a list along the way of all the great things kids have said to me.  One delightful child thought I worked for really mean people because I told him I was not allowed to go to his birthday party. I once had to explain to a six-year-old boy why I could not have a sleepover with him.  Speaking of explaining things... Once, with a new kid, after I had explained about confidentiality and how we can talk about anything in therapy, I told him that sometimes kids have things they want to ask the therapist, and asked if he had any questions. He said yes, he did have a question for me. “How does electric work?” Er, uh, in all of my training no one told me I should be prepared to answer that question.  Kids have solutions for everything. Once, when I gave a five-minute warning before the end of the session, this cute little blonde looked at me with her big eyes and confidently said, “You need to get a clock that goes slower!”  Now, why didn’t I think of that on my own?  Sometimes kids get words mixed up. I was reflecting feelings as a little boy played one day and he looked at me in awe because I was saying what he was feeling and he asked, “How did you know that? Are you psychotic?” Somehow, explaining to him that the word he probably meant to use was psychic just didn’t seem appropriate, so I simply said, “Yes." After all, everyone needs a psychotic therapist, don’t they?  Some of the younger kids don’t grasp that they are in therapy because they are in a room full of toys, and play therapy can be quite fun. As I was walking a kid back to the lobby, we walked down the hallway of administrative offices where people were sitting behind their desks working. The little one piped up and said, incredulously, "Are there people who actually do WORK here?” Ah, yes, some people have to really work at their jobs... but my job is better than yours and I get to see these great kids.   [contact-form][contact-field label='Do you have an idea for a blog? In a few words, briefly tell us your idea.' type='textarea' required='1'/][contact-field label='Name' type='name' required='1'/][contact-field label='Email' type='email' required='1'/][/contact-form]