Diary of a Country Therapist
By Marcia Hill
Routledge – 2004 – 288 pages
Gain remarkable insight about practicing therapy in a rural community!
In Diary of a Country Therapist, Dr. Marcia Hill chronicles more than a decade of her thoughts and feelings about practicing therapy in rural Vermont. The author reveals her empathy for her clients, her frustration in money matters, and her anger at the maltreatment of women. This book focuses not on the specifics of her clients' cases, but on the trials, successes, and fulfillment of working in this emotionally challenging profession.
What a strange line of work this is, where the ability to feel is such a primary tool. Who would think that one's heart could be harnessed and used intentionally as a resource? It's such a paradox. My feeling response is what it is; it cannot be commanded or faked. Yet it is not a matter of giving in to emotion, but one of using feeling purposefully, like a scalpel. It's an experience of simultaneous yielding and restraint. The job of the professional empath is like that of an artist or poet: to take raw experience, direct emotional response, and somehow make it a vehicle for change and enlightenment.
From liberating breakthroughs to personal anguish, Diary of a Country Therapist is witness to a decade of changes, both in Marcia Hill's practice and in her personal life. With the advent of managed health care, she struggles to give her clients the best care she can. She talks about many of the clients she met over the yearswhat therapies worked and which didn't, her discomfort when she interacted with her clients in and around her small country town, and the valuable lessons she learned about life from her sessions with them.
If therapists are exposed to what is most tragic in life, we are also privy to what is most inspiring. We have the benefit of experiencing many lives. If my work has offered me the opportunity to learn wisdom and compassion, my wish is that through these essays I may pass some of that gift along to you.
Diary of a Country Therapist is the honest scrutiny of a psychotherapist's life from her own heart and soul. While this text will be enlightening for mental health professionals of all kinds, its accessible, jargon-free style makes it an excellent selection for nonprofessionals who want insight into the mind of a practicing therapist.