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Being Helpless in the Helping Profession

It’s quite interesting,really, being in a ‘helping profession’ and still feeling so helpless in the world we live in. 

As therapists, our goal is to help others feel empowered, feel worthy, feel ENOUGH. But, what happens when we ourselves feel that enough isn’t.. well.. enough?! 

As I watch the news and question my own ability, I begin to feel like a drop in the ocean,smaller than ever before. I challenge what I can do, where my comfort begins, and also ends. And from there, I attempt to withhold judgement onto myself. I might have different comforts, different platforms to share my thoughts, my feelings, and my beliefs. How can I do what feels safe for me, while still taking action?

As humans, we all have power. How we use that power is our decision. We can recognize that the choices we make may be different than those of others. Others’ choices do not reflect our own. We have voices, but it can be that I chose to use my voice differently. 

It is said that “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor,”(Desmond Tutu) and that is not where I chose to stand. I want to speak. But really, what can I even say to express all that is felt? Sometimes, words are limiting. 

A lack of words does not equate to a

lack of concern, or desire for change.

Before we judge others on how they choose to use their voice, their body, their energy, I urge you to recognize that we can never understand someone’s choices until we truly understand them. Before we judge ourselves on how we choose to use our voice, our body, our energy, I urge you to look inward and understand your reasons behind your choices.

I recognize my privilege. I recognize that I do not have to live in fear the way that others do. I understand that where I am today is not based on my actions alone, but also a luxury I have based off of systemic inequalities, in which I was given the upperhand. I know I entered the world already miles ahead of others. And I see that while I am aware of these things that is not truly enough.

What can we do? 

A question that stops me in my tracks. Can I, as a therapist, as a ‘helper’ be at a loss just as those who are turning to me for guidance?

I came to this conclusion. 

We do something. My ‘something’ will look different from your ‘something’ and yet, both of our ‘somethings’ are actions that can add up to change. My ‘something’ might use my voice, and your ‘something’ might use your body and those decisions may spark others to do their ‘something’ in return. 

No, change and activism are not ‘one-size-fits-all’. What I do know is feeling helpless leads to feeling hopeless and for the sake of man-kind, let’s never lose hope on a day when there will be equality. 

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