Τhe social role of doctors is one of the most demanding, as it includes long-term and continuous studies and information, sacrifices in their personal lives, exhausting hours, stress, low-paying salaries, pressure for high returns and more all responsibility for the patient’s life they have are called upon to care for.
But it is also a fact that the social, personal, professional, marital, family or economic issues that concern them are the same as those of the rest of society and that they will go through the same developmental stages and changes in life as everyone else.
Is happiness impossible to a doctor?
Doctors are often not or do not seem happy. Do they live and enjoy their important work? Do they have a thankful attitude in their life, that is, gratitude for what they have achieved, for what they offer, for what they are?
Often they can survive happily, but also often their behavior shows that they live “unhappily”, without joy, without a specific personal meaning of life. The question always remains “who I am”, “what are my goals and why”. In our postmodern age, the question is transformed into “who do I want to be” and “how am I reaching future”?
A doctor has to live in the present time, but also with his eyes on the future of the continuous developments of his specialty and his personal course.
Unfortunately, evidence show that doctors are in charge of the belief that they are not allowed to have problems, illnesses, mourning, concerns or limitations, as they are required to be permanently available to patients or colleagues.
At the same time, they are in a constant road race to impose limits on the former and compete with the latter. It also seems that a demand of omnipotence and perfection has been imposed on them socially, which of course is not humanly possible.
Doctors have problems as well as everyone else does.
Actually, a doctor does not have to be ashamed of his humanity, but understand that he is often physically or emotionally vulnerable and that is why it may be good and smart for him to seek help. Our experience has shown that doctors find it difficult to admit that they face problems as a kind of “dethronement” from the pedestal of the superman.
Why to ask for psychological support?
Seeking counseling from a mental health professional, is not really a failure, but a sign of strength in the medical profession.
Doctors, having the need to look strong and capable, often find it impossible to admit that they need some degree of reinforcement, like other people, because then they might look like their patients.
Doctors find it difficult to admit that they face problems as a kind of “dethronement” from the pedestal of the superman.
But even if this does not happen, the need for self-knowledge and resolution of the issues that may concern him will bring him in contact with his authentic self, he will acquire more functional relationships at all levels, with a direct reflection in his relationship with his patient.
A complete person who lives authentically and rejoices can only be better with his patients.
Only when one understands his fears, recognizes his vulnerability, listens to his desires, but also admits his limitations, will be able to reveal hidden forces that are waiting to come to the surface. Just as the cells of the basal layer of an epithelium wait for the right stimulus to mature and return to their functional form.
Why are doctors reluctant to ask for help?
What usually keeps a doctor away from a process of self-knowledge is his unconscious fear that the self on the surface is false. And while it protects him defensively from confronting his deepest truth, he is unaware that while he can act as a shield, he at the same time keeps psychic forces waiting with τhe appropriate process to be activated inactive.
This process is counseling and psychotherapeutic work with oneself individually or in groups, in a context of security and trust. Many things can change in his life if he walks this path. This is definitely something that every practitioner needs to understand. That he is not just a doctor. He is also a human being.
Their goal must go beyond helping themselves to survive. They deserve to thrive.
Medical Doctor, Mental Health Counselor, Systemic Existential Psychotherapist