How many times have I been asked this question? “How do you work all day and then go back to your home life and leave all of the yelling and crying and drama and illness behind you?” Here’s a little secret. In grad school they told me (addressing that question)” Once you are truly a professional you will be able to close your door and leave it all behind until you return”. It doesn’t always work that way. Therapists have different orientations and are trained in many different ways depending on the school/program they attended. My program was oriented on an interpersonal model which makes it even more difficult to leave all of the chaos…when I leave my office. By nature of the kind of person I am as well as the type of psychologist I am….I often take it home. I don’t want to …but I often can’t help it. I worry about the people I care about and the “secret” is that caring in itself is something that happens over time. I don’t have the same feeling about the person in my waiting room whom I have never met than I do about the person or couple I have been working with over a period of time. Caring is sort of like trust in this way. It has to be earned by both parties involved. I don’t expect a new patient of mine to “trust” me until I have earned that trust and I don’t have a deep feeling of caring until my patient has let me into their lives and allowed me to know them. So, yes…I worry about the little girl who can’t find a way to go to school without her mother in the hallway and I silently wonder over dinner about the couple I believe has a small chance of forgiving each other. I feel sad sometimes when one of the people who relies on me is frightened that I am going on vacation and dreads the upcoming hiatus. All of this “take it home” information I relegate to my inability to shut off the pain of another person who has trusted me with their inner life. I intend to tell you quite a few of the secrets therapists hold dear-because we are told by our professors it is “unprofessional”. I’ll leave you with this one. Sometimes when you don’t get a satisfactory answer from your counselor it is because they don’t know what to say…and so they say nothing. It is often not technique but rather, just another human being–your therapist–having no idea what to say next.