A lot of well-meaning people often say to psychologists that we deal with “depressing things” and are always concerned with emotional pain. A lot of people think that talking or writing about painful topics is somehow “negative,” and I would like to address this issue, as well as the “upbeat” part of the psychotherapist’s work.
In all fairness, anyone concerned with healing is concerned with the disease process in the physical realm, and emotional pain in the psychological. (This article does not address the mind-body-spirit connection, which is also very important.) It is very hard to change or to facilitate the healing process without addressing the issues. As a professor of mine once said, “No one goes to a psychologist to say that life has been great, or because they just wanted to be nice to psychologists.” This is true. People come in because they are experiencing pretty extreme emotional unease. Those who have had therapy come in recognizing that they have done some of the work and want to do more.
Aleta Edwards, Psy.D.
I am a psychotherapist in private practice, with a strong interest in shame and perfectionism. I will periodically post my thoughts about these topics and other observations relating to emotional health.