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  • Writer's pictureDanielle Aubin, LCSW

Becoming your own therapist, self-healing, and hyper-individualism

Autistic therapist california autistic coach united states

I remember writing my bio not too long ago and the first sentence was that my aim as a therapist was to “make myself redundant.” I wince when I think about it now. I have compassion for myself, I was simply echoing what I had been taught about therapy. Therapy was a means to an end, a “treatment” for an ailment, an ailment you hoped to resolve.

This is the way the medical model views “mental illness” and insurance companies, who hold incredible power in dictating how therapy is provided, strongly uphold this viewpoint. However, when you look at therapy’s origins as well as the potential of therapy, it doesn’t add up. If therapy is simply a treatment for a curable “illness” then why do people stay in therapy for decades? Are they just really messed up?

To understand the conflict between the origin of therapy and how therapy is viewed now, we have to notice that our culture views therapy through a Euro-Western colonial capitalist medical model lens. Through that lens, therapy should be as brief as possible and extinguish symptoms. Before Euro-Western therapy defined what we now call therapy, there were (and still are) grandparents/wise people/shamans/curander@s/neighbors/rituals/rites of passage/community and more that made space for people to grieve/feel/scream/process, etc. Therapy is much more than the medical model allows for.

When influencers and pop-therapists say that we just need to learn how to be “self-healers” or become our own therapists, implying that we will “graduate” from the need of seeing a therapist forever, they are missing a vital piece of what therapy is/can be. Therapy is a connection between two human beings in a special protected space. It is not simply a means to an end. It is an end in and of itself. The idea that therapy seekers are lacking in knowledge and skills and that they just need a more educated/evolved/ therapist to show them the way is paternalistic. If that were the case then therapists would never need therapy!

The Euro-Western world is obsessed with individualism and it is no surprise that therapy has become a tool with the aim of making us so independent we don’t need it anymore. It’s ok to need each other ❤️


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