We counsel clients every day with compassion. Often, as part of my services to clients, I will gently raise the option of seeing a mental health counselor. I’m sure other attorneys do this too. Yet, when it comes to our own mental wellbeing, attorneys are notoriously in denial about getting professional help.
As a litigator with 30-plus years of practice, who came through the ranks of male dominated courtrooms, I understand that we do not wish to think of ourselves as weak. Well, it’s time to convert this outdated thinking and help our profession by helping ourselves. We need a paradigm shift inside each of us to praise the courageous ones who raise their hands and seek assistance from a mental health professional.
In the midst of this horrific pandemic, we are actively reaching out to help our clients through this crisis. We recommend utilizing our legal talent and skills to navigate uncharted issues as a trusted adviser. Isn’t it time to do the same and utilize the talent and skills of a mental health professional to help us be our best for our clients, our families and friends?
The ongoing pandemic amplifies emotions. We hear it in our clients’ voices over the phone and see it in their eyes when using Skype or Zoom. In response, we stay calm and sharpen our exceptional listening skills. But at the end of the day, who listens to us as we try to balance (ridiculous concept) stressful jobs with stressful mandated isolation often away from loved ones. It may help to schedule a teletherapy session or go in person to see a professional in a safe setting.
Take your research skills and apply them to yourself. Consider this as something you would gladly do for a friend. Wouldn’t you talk to your trusted circle to inquire about counseling for a loved one? Wouldn’t you carve out time to explore options close to home for this person? If yes, then let’s embrace seeking help from a counselor for ourselves. This is the time to be courageous by committing to helping yourself.
Many view attorneys as pillars of strength and clarity in our society. Our country needs grounded guidance, which requires each of us to be our healthiest, mentally and physically, now more than ever before.
Theresa Marangas acts as general counsel to small businesses and advises clients on estate planning/administration and litigation matters. She works with the Meier Law Firm, a boutique woman owned firm in Latham. In 2015, Theresa transitioned from leading a litigation practice with Wilson Elser’s Albany office to having her own practice. She is a member of the Board of the YWCA in Troy and volunteers with the South End Children’s Café in Albany.