A psychotherapists job is to aid anyone willing to be helped, doesn’t matter if they’re neurotypical or suffering from some mental disorder. The importance of people working in psychotherapy is steadily increasing, especially in the time of normalization of therapy as well as, society stepping away from its previous harmful stigma surrounding therapy.
Steps of becoming a psychotherapist
Now, although becoming a psychotherapist may be rewarding for the simple joy of helping those in need, the hardships one must face to become, and maintain, this job, such as the expenses and time of experience, as well as the mentally draining nature of this work, should be considered before choosing this path.
Firstly, the steps of becoming a psychotherapist may seem easy, simply receive a bachelor’s degree in psychology, before getting a masters or a PhD in any concrete specification based on your preferred field of work, while at the same time completing the required amount of work hours in practice, usually as an internship. However, the internship is where the hardships get a lot harder.
Different countries have different regulations when it comes to work hours, for example, the UK just asks for 450 hours while the US for over 1000, meaning that working in one country may be possible while being impossible in another.
High expenses and tough skin
Furthermore, the expenses of all the courses and internships are awfully high. With the different universities and different courses, not to mention the need to stay afloat while doing practice hours, which do not pay the students for their work meaning students are forced to find different ways of making ends meet. All this is before mentioning the difficulty of finding work after graduation, options being limited to either creating your own company, which is a whole other pandora’s box of hardships, or working for public institutes, which is not a job easy to get.
Moreover, the work you do as a psychotherapist is a job that requires tough skin and stability that is hard to find, especially while working in this field. Although seemingly small, yet still surprisingly high amount of psychotherapists attempt to take their own lives, which is usually caused by being unable to handle all the clients’ traumas.
That is why keeping a both physically and mentally, healthy lifestyle is of most importance when choosing this path. Many psychotherapists have their psychotherapists to try to keep this balance between work and outside life.
Reward of helping people
However, even if there are so many seemingly grim aspects of this choice of career, that does not change the high reward of helping people and being able to change peoples lives. My aunt is a psychotherapist and I asked her about her work. She repeatedly stated that she loves her job, no matter the hardships. The multitude of fascinating projects she is working on, the number of meet-ups and events she gets to participate in, as well as having her own company where she has her individual clients.
My aunt works in a field she loves, learning new things and meeting new people on a daily, and just being able to create a community as well as help those in need to try to turn around their lives, it is easy to completely forget about all the issues one may face while getting to this point.
In conclusion, even if there are so many issues one may face while becoming a psychotherapist, with the right balance and understanding of ones own mental struggles as well as physical health, this job can be majorly rewarding.
Getting to help people, working closely with those struggling and creating a community of your own can be so gratifying, not to mention the ability to work in a field you are greatly invested in is what I wish for my future.
Hanna Lech, MYP2