AIDS: The Therapist's Journey
I find that my work in AIDS, and living surrounded by AIDS, for the past 12 years has increased my appreciation for and my capacity to enjoy the richness of life. While of course tremendously saddened, instead of finding myself drained, I am increasingly nourished and inspired by working with people living with HIV and AIDS, as devastating as it is. The inspiration comes from their courage.
As a gay man living in the midst of a community ravished by AIDS, the issues I've discussed have an obvious immediacy and urgency to me personally as well as professionally. While the content of this discussion has been living and practicing psychotherapy in the face of a particular plague, I think that the dynamics are universally relevant to all therapists. Which of us has not had to face our own fears and losses, or grapple with our own mortality? This is the core of human pain and triumph. How we manage these issues defines our personhood. How we help our patients manage these issues defines us as therapists.
© 1996 Michael Shernoff
Permission is granted to copy or reproduce this article either in full or in part, without prior written authorization of the author on the sole condition that the author is credited and notified of reproduction.
This article was provided by John Wiley & Sons. It is a part of the publication A Perilous Calling: The Hazards of Psychotherapy Practice.