How Could an Attorney Beneﬁt from Psychotherapy?
Attorneys often must confront intensely negative and unsupportive environments. Whether from opposing counsel or even from colleagues, with whom they work, attorneys are often called upon to engage in conﬂict. The process of defending or attacking—not just in law, but in any realm–can create or give life once again to long-standing personal struggles within the individual. The conﬂicts often feel familiar to the individual, except that new actors are involved. Like in any battle, fatigue sets in. Effective psychotherapy can help to eliminate or shorten the battles. In this way, it can also assist the attorney to develop greater resiliency to “battle fatigue.”
The intensely competitive nature of the legal profession can bring about a generalized state of anxiety or suspiciousness. The practice of law requires an extraordinarily high level of attention to detail. The process of attending at such a level can contribute to feelings of fatigue. It can also be difﬁcult to calibrate the level of attentiveness to detail, depending upon the setting. This sometimes plays a role in the difﬁculties some lawyers confront in their relations with friends and loved ones.
Many lawyers are surprised to discover that professional success often does not protect the individual from the internal impact the battles can have. Some lawyers compete very effectively in the professional realm, but they often ﬁnd themselves in an existential struggle. Sometimes this leads the lawyer to question his/her role in society. Attorneys tend to be highly principled individuals, people who have a desire to defend a system that endeavors to establish ends that are right and just. Over time, some attorneys question whether they are still doing that.
Attorneys who engage in effective psychotherapy, ﬁnd ways to alter their thoughts, feelings and behaviors. They ﬁnd new ways to engage in their work with the same high expectations and ﬁnancial and professional goals, but that do not require that they lose respect for themselves or for others. This enables them to leave more of their tangible and intangible “work” at the ofﬁce. They also can develop the ability to feel less of a need to react with anger. This frees the mind to ﬁnd more constructive, efﬁcient and effective approaches in both the professional and personal realms. Finally, both of these achievements lead the attorney to have more healthy and prosperous professional and personal relationships.