The Therapists Who Raised Me

The Therapists Who Raised Me

Tales from a Terrace Talk Veteran

By David Lappin

November/December 2021

In graduate school, we all suffer from imposter syndrome. I’m 27, slightly older than most students in my small cohort in the marriage and family therapy program, but we’re toddlers, all of us. We may be smart, thoughtful, and incredibly empathetic, but we often feel as if we don’t know anything. Our confidence that we belong in this profession wanes just as fast as it arrived. We stumble around counseling theories and marvel at the DSM. We take shaky first steps during awkward role-playing in front of our instructors—skilled clinicians in their own right. For the most part, we have no experience working in mental health services.

On paper, my admission application undoubtedly raised eyebrows: I resembled less a promising, future clinician and more a lost 20-something hoping that a graduate degree might establish some semblance of credibility. Before I decided on this career path, I’d worked as a bank teller, an office supplies salesman, a teacher’s aide, a tutor, and a debt collector. But whether I knew it or not, I’d been training to become a therapist my entire life. Because, for better or worse, I was raised by two of them.

For well over the past decade, my parents held sessions in a suite of offices they rented only a few miles from home. They worked out of two larger rooms that had excellent natural light and views of nearby mountains on the horizon. The third room of their suite, the smallest, with no windows, had been vacant for quite some time, and…

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Topic: Families | Parenting

Tags: families

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