Should Your Therapist Show Their Flaws Too?
Going to a therapist, you think they are going to solve all of your problems. Or at least make them seem less scary. In a way, they seem superior to you because you are the one coming to them for help. They seem to have this hidden knowledge that your mental state hasn’t seemed to grasp yet. They seem to have a solution for every problem you run into. They seem to know what you’re thinking even if you don’t realize you’re thinking it. They seem to be perfect.
I know some therapists who really come across as perfect because I met some until I found my therapist. Those therapists made me feel a little hopeful because they seemed to know what they were doing or some would phrase it as they had their shit together.
However, this also made me feel defeated and pathetic. I would start comparing myself to them. And also envying them. Which I know is never a good thing to do in any situation, but during my lowest moments it was hard not to. There are both pros and cons to having "the perfect therapist". Some people lean more to liking that kind of therapist while others don't.
You want to know my favorite thing about my therapist? It’s that she’s human. I mean yes, most therapists are human. But I mean that she shows her humanness AKA her imperfections. I am aware not everyone agrees with me on this one, but I’m going to tell you why I feel this way...
Throughout my many sessions with my therapist I have come to notice some of her imperfections. Some that she states directly to me and then some that I notice on my own. I appreciate these findings because it makes me realize that even though she has all of this mental and emotional knowledge, she still struggles too.
I don’t mean to sound cynical in saying that I like that she struggles and it makes me feel better. It just makes me realize that she’s a human too, just like me. I feel less hesitant sharing my problems with her because I don’t feel like she’s superior to me. I feel like we can have a conversation with each other on the same level. Almost like a friend. But not. Because there needs to be boundaries.
On the flip side, some people may freak out if they realize their therapist isn't perfect. Especially if they are in a deep low. They may start to think, “if my therapist doesn’t have it together, how am I ever??” I understand that point of view, but recently that has not been my response to this kind of circumstance. If you are feeling this way there’s good news! Every therapist is different. Some will show flaws while others will not. You just have to find your right fit!
I wrote this post not to bash my therapist. I LOVE my therapist and I hope it came across that way. I’m writing this for maybe other people who go to therapy and can relate to this. I’m also writing this for any therapists or future therapists out there because I want to thank you for everything you do. Also, cut yourselves some slack and don’t be afraid to accidentally slip up once and display a flaw to your patients. Don't be afraid to intentionally show your flaws if that's what you want to do. It makes you seem more relatable and easier to talk to... at least for me that is & I'm sure I'm not the only patient who feels this way!