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Therapy Watch: To Serve and Reflect

Helping patients is a two-way street.

Therapists earn a living opening up others' eyes, but sometimes the enlightenment occurs on the other side of the couch. Several members of Psychology Today's Therapy Directory ( share what they've learned from clients.

Therapist couch

Accepting the Unexpected

"As a child, I was told it's important to 'tolerate' differences. My clients taught me that 'tolerance' isn't enough. No one wants to bemerely tolerated, like a wart on your face. They want to be acknowledged, valued, and celebrated. To do that, we must fight a feeling of 'rightness' toward our own upbringing, culture, and experience." —Art Matthews, Mesa, Arizona

Crash Course

"On a practical level, I have heard about topics ranging from laying polymer floor covering to creating stained glass projects to building a tree house. For me, there is joy in finding out about subjects that would never cross my mind otherwise." —Julia Fanning, West Dundee, Illinois

Missed Connection

"Years ago, I had a client whom I found hostile yet charming. I had to monitor my own feelings in order to uncover the rage and distrust underpinning his predatory behavior. Afterward, I examined my own unresolved issues with intimacy and connection, and even opened myself up to a loving relationship with a man I had been dating." —Sheri Heller, New York, New York


"I once learned to check my zipper before I come out of the bathroom!" —Mark Littman, Newton, New Jersey

Type your ZIP code into our Therapy Directory, and see who's near you.