Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade offers advice for maintaining your mental health.
Every now and then, I run into a former patient who approaches me in the community or sends an email letter or card of thanks. That's the reward which makes me never completely retire. It's not me but the process we psychologists offer-listening, caring, understanding, offering a safe time and place to explore and search, allowing people to be themselves without pretense and face their demons without fear, and provide guidance to move forward. Not everyone makes great progress, but everyone has that chance.
Just today, I was at a play and at the restroom, a woman recognized me after 30 years. I wouldn't have recognized her but I did know the name when she introduced herself. She said that her life changed after our 6 sessions and she thanked me for helping her. She's had a happy life. Indeed, she did the work to make it happen, but I was touched that she thanked me and happy that she was doing well. As every decent psychologist knows, if the therapist has to work harder than the patient, there's not going to be progress. The therapist is a catalyst, who provides a process, and the patient does the work and gets the credit.
I love this work.