I became a therapist for the wrong reason.
Not to help people, but to get helped.
Not to give, but to take.
I didn’t like myself much, and thought if I solved people’s problems they’d be grateful and like or love me in return.
I was sort of an emotional pickpocket.
Bad reason, as I said, to become a shrink.
But not an unusual one.
For years I’ve met people in the helping professions — doctors, nurses, teachers, therapists, even lawyers and cops — who were similarly motivated.
It’s not necessarily fatal. The lucky ones discover it in time and take steps to get their emotional needs met in healthier ways.
If they can do that they can become true professionals — adults able to defer their own needs to the service of others.
The unlucky ones never discover the real motive behind their career choice. Or they do, and then can’t decide what to do about it.
And so keep picking pockets.
Taking while pretending to be giving.
Which can become the opposite of helping.