How does practicing psychotherapy affect the personal life of the therapist? A qualitative inquiry of senior therapists’ experiences
Objective: To investigate how psychotherapists' lives and relationships are influenced by their work.
Method: Twelve senior psychotherapists took part in qualitative interviews.
Results: Thematic analysis yielded four significant themes: (i) it has been a privilege to know and contribute, and to be allowed to grow personally; (ii) facing suffering and destructiveness has been a burden; (iii) being a therapist has had an impact on my personal relationships—for better and worse; and (iv) I have needed to construct a way of living that allowed me to continue to do the work.
Conclusion: Working as a therapist seem to imply a potential for developing openness, tolerance, and creativity, while being vulnerable to becoming overwhelmed with responsibility and feelings of inadequacy, isolation, and despair.
Psychotherapy Research, 2015, DOI:10.1080/10503307.2015.1065354