I was working on a Masters in marriage and family therapy, should I forget about it?

I have too many problems of my own! How can I help others if I can’t help myself. Yes, I have been to therapy. I just don’t think I can care about the human race much anymore. All I have to do is go on Y/A and read all of the anger and hate people spew and think, or watch the news or read papers and see how, as a race, we are spiriling out of control with hatered and anger against one another. Will these be my clients? Should I even care? What’s the point if no good can come out of my work? I have too much empathy and compassion for others that it burns right through me and is burning me out! I’d care if I know my work would make a difference. I would really like to help people and the world to be a better place. I just don’t know if I have the strenght or enough compassion left. There is too much ugliness in the world and it gets worse. I feel that I am wasting my energy on trying to beat a dead horse. Thanks for reading. Any comments? Faith and prayers are the only things saving me.

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3 Responses to “I was working on a Masters in marriage and family therapy, should I forget about it?”

  • onivlek says:

    I am close to getting my MA in Clinical Psychology (and eventually my doctorate), so on some levels, I can relate to you. Our field is not for everybody. It’s definitely frustrating, and you often think that what you’re doing is pointless. Some of those people you mentioned might be your clients. However, remember that what you see on the news is not always completely accurate. Bad news sell, and that’s why you always see these terrible things on TV that are often blown out of proportion or exaggerated. The media is not always balanced. In addition, you may have done more good to your clients than you realize. I think it is great that you have empathy and compassion for others, and I think what you’re experiencing now is a burnout stage. I also think you might be too personal, too emotional, too attached, to/with your clients. It also sounds like you have a very negative, pessimistic view of the world. These might be issues to bring up in therapy to find out about yourself. Of course, I don’t know how you work, and I know nothing about you, so if I’m off, I apologize. Whether or not you decide to finish your MFT is completely up to you. What do you want to do with it afterward? If you have a private practice, you have the freedom to choose which clients you want to work with and which population you won’t. As for your first two statements, nobody said that mental health practitioners have to be perfect. Medical doctors get sick too, so does that mean they can’t help their patients? We clinicians have our own problems to deal with, and it’s naive to think that we have to be perfect in order to help others, because we won’t be perfect. We just have to be aware of our personal issues and work through it. I’ve said my piece, and I hope it was helpful. Whatever you decide now is up to you. Good luck.

  • Patti_Ja says:

    Hi…I am a Social Worker for over 25 years and I came to this point a few years ago. I crashed and burned and took a break, it was not just the people I was trying to help…I worked with HIV+ individuals who are homeless or in danger of becoming homeless as a result of their drug abuse or serious mental incapacity…it tore my heart out because the agencies I worked for were not dealing with major issues that were happening…instead they were grabbing press by doing other things that would keep them powerful movers and shakers on capital hill…I left the position and am now teaching others how to survive the agencies, the populations that they serve and the political agendas of others…I was going for a PhD in Social Work with research in Vicarious Victimization…or secondary PTSD…and maybe you would be interested in this because it deals with the professional who burns out because they listen to the trauma of not one but many clients…those who survive this are often the ones with less compassion and strong ego boundaries…it is a shame that the helping professions are a big business anymore…because this field used to be about the client and not curing them in the 8 sessions provided by insurance companies and used to be about helping and not about paper work mountains…good luck to you…the field would be a lonely place with out people like you…believe me…I know

  • bethy4jesus says:

    I really understand what you are saying…and will give you a couple of thoughts from experience. #1…Some of the best counselors I know have been through a tough life themselves…so it really does help them to be more compassionate and not so judgemental. #2 In order to prevent burnout you need to keep yourself replenished. You cannot give if you run out. You cannot give what you do not have. You need support of your own to draw from…be that a good relationship, a church group, support group, whatever. Just kinda consider counseling as "spending" and your support as your bank. Make sure to keep your budget balanced and you will be ok. Oh, and the fact that you have been to therapy is a plus….just apply what you have learned.
    Not everything is written in the books….and you are right….faith and prayers will save you! God bless……

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