"I became a psychotherapist because that's where people unburden themselves, where they will show what is in their hearts."
- Rollo May
At some point in life, it clicked that what I used to believe about careers simply wasn't true: that if you're a smart cookie, you go down one of three default tracks: doctor, lawyer, or engineer. I chose doctor. I checked off all the boxes and headed onto the pre-med track at the University of Michigan, ready for the bullet train to excellence. I did all the hospital volunteer work, took organic chemistry, and had a job in the gross anatomy labs in which I dissected actual human cadavers — I was well on my way to making my dream a reality.
But there was a nagging feeling in my gut that this wasn't right. The life I had set out for myself wasn't right. The classes weren't right, the job wasn't right, none of it was right — I had a sense that there was more out there for me. Ever since I was little I've had a fascination with the mind: how it worked, how it didn't work, how to fix it, etc. I've battled anxiety and depression for quite some time, so I learned the ins and outs of my own — I was a productive writer, I went to therapy, I had deep conversations with myself. Then I learned about other people's minds when I studied psychology, literature, and creative writing, and when I applied that to helping people with mental illness.
"Love is nature's psychotherapy" - Eric Berne
I've worked with a thousand people with these issues so far, and I've never felt so rewarded and in my element. This is where I shine, as part of the healing process alongside those in distress and pain. I've found that in these experiences I've had the most sincere, genuine, and authentic look at the human mind as it is, and there's been nothing else that has compared. These are only some of the reasons I chose to go down the path of a psychotherapist — if you look at the scope of my entire life, or any psychotherapist's entire life, you'll see all the dots connect in this direction.
As I was expected to become some sort of surgeon, I received a mix of responses when I shifted gears: Wow, we need more healers in the world! or You don't make much with that, right? or Why can't you just become a psychiatrist?, mostly along those lines. No matter what anyone thinks, I know that this is what I'm meant to do. And what I will do.