Hey Sharon, tell us about yourself!
Hello! I'm Sharon. I’m a southern transplant currently residing in NYC. I enjoy being active and playing sports (running and tennis), binging podcasts, exploring the music scene, and working on side projects with my product buds.
Can you tell us what you do as an Psychotherapist for those who are unfamiliar?
As a therapist, I work with youth who are diagnosed with mental health disorders and their families. I provide short term therapy where I focus on teaching skills to families in learning new ways to handle their presenting challenges. I’m also psychoeducating them around mental illness and helping parents learn how to support their children to build stronger relationships with each other.
How did you decide to pursue your specific career?
I honestly had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I had switched majors several times hoping one would stick but no real passion for any of them. I decided to pursue psychology as I thought it was “interesting.” However, it wasn't until my junior year of undergrad that I considered a career in mental health. I took an abnormal psychology class where I became fascinated in psychopathology and exploring human behavior. Soon after, I joined a personality studies lab and worked as a research assistant for about 2 years. It was an amazing experience to learn more about personality disorders and conducting my own research.
What made you interested in your field?
I was first inspired to be a therapist after watching Robin William's performance on Good Will Hunting. I thought to myself how I wanted to be just like him and help others feel seen and heard. I also enjoyed meeting new people, having deep conversations with others, and hearing their life stories. With my interest in mental health and my desire to help others, it led me down this career path.
Any advice on how to stand out and get hired for those starting off?
Learn to be curious. At the beginning of your career, you spend a lot of your time crafting your identity and honing your skills. This is the time to explore and learn about yourself. What orientation fits you? What population interests you? Are there topics that you are passionate about? If something catches your eye, try it out. The great thing about this field is the constant self-development. You are always learning new things and growing as an individual.
3 Character traits that would make someone excel in your field
Empathy, Curiosity, and Self-compassion
Most difficult thing about your job?
You can’t help everybody. Clients will come and go. You’ll get no shows to appointments or clients will ask to switch therapists. Rejection hurts. However, it’s those moments you learn from. You figure out what went right and wrong. You learn how to approach your clients differently. Most of all, you grow to become more self-compassionate. You are doing your best and will help make a positive change with someone else.
What would you like to say to your younger self?
It’s okay to not have everything figured out. Be curious and take advantage of every opportunity because you can always learn along the way. Be confident in yourself. And don’t worry, you’ll be okay.
Best advice you've received/heard?
Don’t wait around for opportunities. Either ask to help out or just do it.
Any last thoughts, advice, or recommendations for someone who is interested in become a therapist?
It’s important to balance work and life. Burnout is common with this line of work. Learn when to take a step back and practice self-care. Treat yourself (cue Parks and Recs) whenever you can because you can’t help others if you don’t help yourself first.