Why I became a therapist is something I get asked a lot by the kiddos I see, and usually my answer is short and sweet…. because I really wanted to help families and kiddos just like them! But the full answer to this question is definitely a bit more complex.
So to preface, being a therapist is not just a job for me, it’s my dream, a life goal, something I am very passionate about and something that makes me extremely happy! When I was younger and had this dream, I knew it would not be easy getting there, but once I was there it would be satisfying! What I did not realize, was how hungry I would continue to be to keep learning and growing, to keep feeding the desire to be better.
Why? To Be That Someone Who Will Listen
So why did I even want to become a therapist in the first place? Well, like many of my clients, I sought therapy when I was a pre-teen and a teen. I won’t get into any of those murky details as to why, but ultimately, I was not happy and I wanted to be happy, like so many people feel, right? I needed someone I could talk to who would listen, but that was the problem, I didn’t feel like anyone was listening. So originally, my 15-year-old self thought, “I want to be a pediatrician to help kids!”
Then I quickly realized how bad I am when it comes to injuries, colds, blood etc. So that idea quickly went out the window. Then I thought to myself, “how can I help other kids who may feel how I am feeling?” The thought of therapist entered my head, then disappeared just as quickly. I had some other fleeting thoughts, but eventually therapist kept echoing in my mind. So it was decided, I was going to be a therapist!! But how, how do I get there? What kind of therapist do I want to be? There were so many options, it was all overwhelming.
Fast forward, I settled into a career that fell in my lap and had let my dream go of being a therapist. In my mind that it was too late, I couldn’t do it. Then one day I realized how unhappy I was, how hard it was to get up and go to work every day, it was a chore, like doing the dishes (I despise doing the dishes)! So I started thinking about this dream again. I ultimately made the decision to go back to school, but was still hesitant because there were so many options out there, how do I know what is right and best for me? This is a time and financially consuming decision; I need to be smart about this!
Why? To Help Child and Their Family
Then my last semester of junior year I had an internship at Head Start. For those that don’t know, Head Start is program that provides early childhood education, health, nutrition and parent involvement services to low-income children and families. During this internship, I was paired with one boy who was missing so many of his milestones, let’s call him Max (name changed for privacy). His teacher and I talked, agreed, and created a plan for this kiddo. We saw so much improvement throughout my short time there, it made my heart very happy. I remember going home at night feeling like a million bucks! We also saw how Max regressed when he would come back to school on Monday’s.
My gears in my head started to turn. Max would go home, to the same environment, where the family did not put in place the plan his teacher and I did. Then we would have to completely start over every week. This moment is when I realized, this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. I want to be a child and family therapist! This experience taught me that change can happen with just one person, but success is increased when change is happening throughout the family.
So ultimately, my beginning desire to be a therapist started from wanting something that I could not find and did not feel I had…someone to listen to me. But the deciding factor was when I got to experience helping a kiddo and recognizing how I could help a family who wanted change. The overwhelming sense of life fulfillment, therapist is my calling. To this day, I still have those same feelings of my heart being happy when a client reaches an “ah ha” moment, or when they are finally able to stop letting their negative thoughts affect their relationships and everyday life, etc. And I appreciate being able to be a part of so many people’s positive experiences regarding therapy.