At least a couple of times every week I get asked, “How do you listen to people all day and not be a wreck about it?” In fact, it was one of the things I worried about the most when I was studying to become a psychologist. Earlier in my career, I wasn’t totally sure WHY I wasn’t “bringing my work home with me,” but I was pretty grateful that it wasn’t happening. It really is this strange thing about working in my field—being exposed to traumatic material and not being traumatized by it. After more than 15 years in the industry, I think I finally have some good answers.
For starters, I feel really lucky to have my job. Every day, people work up the courage to come and see me and share with me some of the worst, most painful parts of their lives. They don’t do that with just anyone. I am rewarded daily with this kind of trust and respect. It really blows me away to get to be a meaningful part of someone’s struggles. Feeling lucky to be in this position helps, as it keeps me wanting to do things that will allow me to work forever.