Struggles that therapists face

Being a therapist in the field of psychotherapy, counselling or other talking therapies can be demanding as well as rewarding. There is a wide variety of challenges that a therapist can face both professionally and personally.

Below, we’ll take a look at the struggles that a therapist might encounter throughout their career and on a day-to-day basis.

Reluctant clients

Some clients may have been forced to visit a therapist by other family members or their support network and therefore may struggle to open up. This can be a source of frustration if you feel like you’ve hit a wall or that your client is not engaging.

In this situation, it’s important to stay calm and assess with the client whether they might prefer to work with experienced therapists. Assessing their goals together at the very start of the therapy sessions will give you both something for which to aim and allow the client to address what they want to achieve.


It can be deeply upsetting to be a recipient of a malpractice claim but they can happen. Situations include failure to protect a client or abusing the client/therapist relationship.

If you receive a complaint against you or you are sued, you’ll want to make sure that you’re able to protect your professional reputation and finances.

Separating work and home

This can be difficult in any job but, due to the emotional nature of the work, therapists might find this particularly challenging. However, it’s important that you’re able to detach and go about your own life, focusing on own wellbeing and mental health, outside of your client hours. Set aside time for yourself to take part in activities unrelated to work and therapy. To keep stress at bay, try yoga, meditation or walks in nature as well as spending valuable time with family and friends.

It’s also crucial to take time off, as you would in any other career, to avoid burnout, whether this be enjoying holidays or simply relaxing at home.

Set aside judgement

While you’re unlikely to have entered the profession if you were unable to separate your opinions from your duty to your clients, if you do find yourself reacting to a client’s issues, it’s vital to set aside judgement and try to see things from their perspective. This will enable them to work through issues and achieve their goals without worrying about how they are perceived. Taking out proper insurance for therapists will cover you for professional liability if the worst happens.

Beginning a career in therapy is not an easy option but taking time to address the struggles that you might face will stand you in good stead to help your clients to get the most out of their sessions.

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Dan Dunn
Dan Dunn
Executive Managing editor

Editor and Admin at MarkMeets since Nov 2012. Columnist, reviewer and entertainment writer and oversees all of the section's news, features and interviews. During his career, he has written for numerous magazines.

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