You will never be Irvin Yalom and that’s more than OK

You don’t have to be Irvin Yalom to be a good therapist. Or Francine Shapiro, Judith Beck, Bessel van der Kolk, Stephen Hayes, Marsha Linehan or insert your therapy hero here. You’ve read all their books, watched their videos and maybe even attended training with them. Yes, they are amazing therapists BUT they are not you.

You can learn from the masters but you will never be them. That can leave some therapists feeling like they are never good enough. I can’t phrase it like Irvin. I can’t do a cognitive interweave like Francine. I’ve even heard therapists copy the vocal style of their hero therapist.

But the truth is, the best therapist you can be for your clients is the most authentic version of you. We aim to help clients be their authentic self and yet as therapists it’s easy to get caught up in the copy cat version of the therapist that we want to be.

The number one step towards becoming a confident therapist is recognising the unique beauty and flavour of qualities and experience that you bring to the therapy work. You’ve worked damned hard to get your licence to practice. You’ve absorbed more information than you probably thought possible. You’ve been videorecorded and your interpersonal style has been critiqued and corrected.

But now its time to say ( like the song) “this is me”. This is how I do therapy and this is what I offer. This is my style and my interpretation of all that I have learned and will continue to learn from the masters and the wonderful therapies they developed.

The masters had the passion to develop their therapy and share it with us, the passionate therapists of the world. They don’t have your client in front of them. It is our job to deliver therapy in the best way for the client who sits with us in each moment. And we can only do that when we allow ourselves to be authentic. To use our own voice, our own style, to experiment a little (or a lot).

The best gift you can give your clients is to bring yourself, not a version of the masters to the session. Because for therapy to feel real to a client, your therapy self must be congruent with who you are outside the therapy room. Those parts of you need to be aligned. They must be consistent.

So? You want more confidence? Tired of not feeling good enough as a therapist? Then it’s time to be authentically you. No more hiding and not feeling good enough. Your client wants the real and vibrant version of you to help them find the true and healthiest version of them.

It’s time to bring it.

Authentically yours,


P.S. Did you like what you read? Are you ready to feel good enough? If you are interested in becoming a more confident therapist, to be brave, curious and authentically you, contact me for your free 15 minute consultation. Or sign up to my mailing list for your free Get Clarity resource.

4 thoughts on “You will never be Irvin Yalom and that’s more than OK”

    1. Thanks for your comment Linda! you are not alone. I hope you’ll join me for more blogs and tips on how to feel good enough

  1. So true Nadene!! I love what you are saying. I myself see my style as that if a weaver if models. However, only this week I fell into self doubt. Mind you at times when one of my colleagues makes a comment or gives that extra one pause, I then wonder, have I missed the mark, done something wrong? Have a broken some rule? Not been adherent to a model?

    1. Thanks Maria for your comment. It is true. We tend to compare ourselves to others and be afraid of criticism. I plan to cover how to move beyond this in future blogs and tips.

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