Would you go to a therapist who had not had therapy themselves?


Therapy is something I am passionate about not only has it been my career since 2004 but for me it is the most rewarding and fulfilling job.
Can you imagine getting up every day looking forward to going to work to potentially make a difference to people’s lives.
Being privileged enough to enter the world of your client is something I learnt very early on in my training.
The most important part about therapy is the relationship between therapist and client, if that is there the rest will fall into place.
I have worked with many individuals over the years who have been “sent by their partner, to get sorted”. Often the partner is the one who needs sorting……
However, when that client engages in the process and wants to be there for themselves then the work can take place.

How do I know all of this? Not only do I see this on a daily basis, but I have experienced therapy myself over the years.

My first experience of therapy was short lived, as I understand now I was not ready I was trapped in fear, fear of change. I wanted to stay in my “comfort zone” which was not at all comfortable, just “familiar’ but doing something, was too scary.
However, the therapist was empathic and listened to me unconditionally, I felt heard.
This was even before I trained to be a therapist myself, so the key thing here is that the experience was positive. So the next time I entered into therapy and was unconsciously ready to move, the work took place. Had my initial experience of therapy (the therapist) not been good, had I not felt heard, had I not felt understood, had I felt judged there is a very high percentage that I would not have returned and missed out on the learning of self.
I could have blamed all sorts of reasons, but sadly the fact that I did not feel able to return was down to my initial experience of therapy.

When a client walks into my practise I am not assuming the role of perfectionist more human being with flaws, like everyone else, this helps to address the power dynamic.
I know my clients know I am an expert in my field and I also know whose material we are working on in the session. The clients not mine.
I have regular supervision to monitor this and I am in turn am a supervisor myself for other therapists.
However, for a client who is lost in the dark it can be very comforting to know their therapist has not only been into the darkness, but has come out the other side.

Someone said to me once “Never trust a therapist who has not had therapy themselves”.

Not everyone will agree with this and that of course is their prerogative. Someone who says, “I have never needed therapy” well that person is stating they are “sorted”, sorry none of us are “sorted”.
No one person would not benefit from learning more about themselves and enhancing their well-being, both physically and mentally.
We are all a work in progress, myself included.
A therapist does not have to have experienced everything their clients have that is not humanly possible. They do, I feel need to have experienced their own personal therapy in order to walk in the client’s shoes.

Mental Health still has stigma attached to it sadly so by saying to your client I have had Mental Health issues, I have been in therapy, it was hard but I have come out the other side, you are truly endorsing our profession.

Article by Diane Pulley

Diane Pulley is a BACP accredited and UKRC psychotherapist and Life Coach having graduated from Warwick university. She has worked in private practise for many years with clients presenting various issues, from trauma, depression, anxiety and self confidence. Diane works with both individuals and couples. Her experience has lead her to work with corporate clients delivering stress management training for both staff and management. Aspire You has been born from a personal journey, of Diane's own marriage breaking down after 28 years, when she identified there is a need to support women through this process and help them rebuild their lives. "everyone has the potential to lead fulfilling lives and i am committed to helping individuals achieve that desire"