Interview with a Therapist

Who knows what a therapist might say under the influence of truth serum? Well, upcoming are unguarded words from this writer, a counselor retired, but not retiring from the challenge of interrogation. No drugs were necessary, but some background first.

I recently was named one of the 2017 Top Therapy Bloggers by Online Counseling Programs. How nice, I thought. Yet mingled with my gratitude came a second nagging question: why not the one and only Top Blogger of 2017? And then, why just 2017? Why not the top therapy writer of the decade? Or top blogger in the universe? Ah, well, I’ll have to make do. Life is tough.

Oh yes, the interview. The kind folks at Online Counseling Programs asked me nine questions. If you’d like an overview of my perspective on sexual attraction to patients, the training of psychologists, the challenge of maintaining boundaries, how the therapist (not the client) is changed by therapy, and the specifics of my career, you’ll find a good deal in my interview responses.

Another therapist would give different answers, although those currently in practice are careful not to share much about themselves. My retirement gives me the freedom to say a few things active counselors are wise not to touch. Please don’t assume they’d respond in the same way even if they were retired. What I offer is my perspective only, not unassailable truth.

Here are the questions:

  1. When and why did you originally create your psychotherapy blog?
  2. What do you hope to achieve by maintaining it?
  3. We highlighted your recent post, “The Arc of a Therapist’s Emotional Life,” because you offer such insightful musings on the therapist’s emotional life as it informs and is shaped by his professional work. One of the points you make is the difference in sympathizing versus empathizing with clients’ emotional states. How would you recommend that mental health professionals in training maintain emotional boundaries with their clients?
  4. Can you walk us through what motivated you to become a psychotherapist, as well as the educational journey you took to get there?
  5. How have you seen your blog and profession evolve over the years?
  6. During your nearly three decades as a practicing psychotherapist, what would you say were your most challenging and rewarding experiences, and why?
  7. What advice would you offer to aspiring psychotherapists?
  8. Music plays a major role in your blog. What has been the value and influence of music in your practice of psychotherapy?
  9. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

My answers? Click here.

The top image is a still photo of Harold Lloyd from his 1920 silent movie, High and Dizzy.

18 thoughts on “Interview with a Therapist

  1. Why not the “Top Therapy Blogger” indeed?!!!


  2. Nice! Congrats. Love the integration of the Basic Program in your writing.


  3. Congrats! That’s great, and well deserved. 🙂 Your words and thoughts captivated me reading this interview, brilliant!


    • Thank you, Rayne. You wlll discover, I think, that once you have lived long enough (and been as observant as I know you are) you will have (even more) interesting things to say than you do now.


  4. This is well deserved recognition. I love the idea of one human being helping another. That’s how I feel when I read your blog.


  5. You are very sweet, Joan. Thank you.


  6. I love reading your posts, not just because you are a therapist(although I will admit I started to read it to get a better glimpse into the other side of the therapy dyad), but I appreciate your honest musings about what it is to be a human being. I think that if we all could somehow be this authentic with each other in our personal lives, perhaps the therapy profession could retire… thanks for inspiring with your authenticity.


    • Thank you, wildheart. Well, as you’ve suggested in a perfect world, I’ve done my part: retired! Seriously, your are welcome.


  7. Mazel tov, Gerry! You definitely got my vote. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the interview. I felt like I got to know you even better. Your insight and honesty continue to inspire me. Thank you for sharing your inner and outer life us all. -~Your #1 fan.


    • Thank you, Evelyn. I’m a little worried about being #1 though — there is only one available direction from that exalted spot! But your gratitude is appreciated.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Congrats, on the nomination. Who cares if they don’t think you are the best?
    Excellent and in-depth interview! Another psychotherapist was born today 🙂


  9. Bravo and congratulations on this honor! You are the best blogger….you attracted and have maintained the likes of me! Your clients were well-served and very lucky to have you!


  10. Thanks for saying so, Nancy. You and other appreciative readers do make this more rewarding than I expected when I started out doing it.


  11. I very much enjoyed reading your responses Gerald, and getting to know you more. I was very much interested in all you achieved during your career and how interesting and and challenging and motivating your experiences must have been. One thing I’m enjoying as I get older (turning 48 in a couple of months) is that considering I’m just an average person to, I like how life’s journey is continually shaping and changing my perspective. Having the support of therapy to allow and facilitate facing some of the most inner terrifying experiences and safely coming through the other side has changed or confirmed my own beliefs, but also changed forever my awareness of the world around me. You must find it satisfying to look back at your own experiences and journey you’ve taken.
    I think that for anyone to enjoy an afternoon tea/coffee with you would have a fascinating day. I know I would anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. drgeraldstein

    You are a kid, Claire! Thanks for the many compliments. If we continue to be “aware,” sometimes are ideas are confirmed, sometimes disconfirmed. I’m at the point where I actually enjoy most of the disconfirmations a bit more, at least if they don’t cause me to think I’ve done serious harm to others in the past.


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