For quite some time now, the importance of mental health in the social panorama of our country has been put on the table, the need for more psychology professionals in public health is being claimed, and going to therapy is being normalized. This, although not everything has been achieved, is a success: that the younger generations grow up knowing that going to therapy is a possibility to solve their emotional pain and become the people they want to be, leads us to form a society, in the long run , much more connected with herself, aware and careful. However, despite these advances, mental illness continues to be a stigmaand needless to say if those who suffer it are the psychologists themselves.
break the stigma
A few days ago, having a drink with my friends, I was talking to them about the guilt and shame that invaded me when, a long time ago, I was on leave due to depression. Another of them, who is also a psychologist, commented on the internal resistance that she had until she decided to go to therapy, because she felt that it was a failure of her professionalism. The underlying question is: can we psychologists escape from the problems that other human beings have? Obviously not. As my friend and colleague said Julia Montenegro Remiro recently in their social networks, psychologists also have depression.
It is important to break with the standards of perfection that are imposed on mental health professionals. There are things we do not see and, even knowing that something is wrong with ourselves, we may not have the tools to address it: there is no possibility of “self-treating”. Or maybe we are blocked because opening that box of unspecific discomforts is very scary. Or maybe we’re in it, but we don’t feel quite right yet. There are thousands of possibilities that place us on a whole spectrum of mental health along with the people we are accompanying, always evaluating the option of giving ourselves space and stopping providing psychotherapy for as long as necessary.
It is for this reason that we need to be in a constant process of learning and personal growth where we move in our own contradictions, modifying aspects of our life so that they cease to be or accepting what cannot be changed. So yes, generally, in the house of the wooden knife blacksmith, but that does not fill us with guilt, because life is cycles and no one, not even psychologists, are born immune to problems.
Normalize from feminist values
Feminism helps us enormously to overcome this internal conflict with the ups and downs of our mental health. The impenetrable and perfect figure of the supposed professionalism that we have been led to believe that we must achieve, so similar to traditional standards of masculinity, is not real. How can we not have impostor syndrome! If we want to fit into that mold like Cinderella’s glass slipper, either our little finger is going to end up coming out at some point during the night (impostor caught!), or our feet are going to hurt a lot and we won’t be able to enjoy dancing how we like
The mask of unquestionable wisdom that the “professionals” label confers on us must be pierced by purple x-rays that reveal that, surprise surprise, we are human, we screw up, we doubt, and we feel the full range of emotions just like everyone else. .
The feminist perspective is not only the one that is applied in practice and that is sustained in a specific theory, but rather, more than a perspective, it is an impregnation of feminism in our work, not only something that goes out, but that surrounds us. like a blanket that, unlike Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak, makes us one hundred percent visible, with all our shit, and that shows the need to seek support from other colleagues.
Taking advantage of the pull of the claims for access to mental health resources around the world, I ask to include a final asterisk reminding us that psychologists also deserve to be able to go to therapy without being beaten up for it and without being belittled as professionals.
The people whose work I admire the most are people who have the courage to do self-criticism and to expose themselves to a certain extent to also reflect on how their praxis impacts their bodies and their well-being. We need to turn the concept of professionalism around to include vulnerability in it and appreciate that there is a connection with the person behind the job, with the house behind the façade, especially in a profession like psychology, where the link and honesty are so important to the success of therapy.