What some of you may know about me: I practice as a registered marriage and family therapist intern, scheduled to be fully licensed in the State of Florida by 2020.

What some of my clients may NOT know: I am also an attorney!

I’ve had my law license since 1989 and served as a commercial litigator for the vast majority of that time, mostly working on financial matters (banking, bankruptcy, real estate/construction, different forms of insolvencies, etc.) It was thrilling, but demanding. Ultimately, after 25 years of practice, I chose to move to a new realm of counseling– being a therapist.


During 2020’s Lawyer Well-Being Week May 4-8th, it is a time to celebrate lawyering as a challenging, wonderful field. We can look at the progress made through the Covid-19 virus pandemic–much of the recovery efforts has involved those working in the law. Lawyers make and interpret the law, help clients comply with the law and wade their way through the details. Lawyers think and act with rapid speed and agility. That is what makes lawyers so vital to society, and why they deserve the respect and prestige conferred upon them and the work they do.

But let’s face it: lawyering has its pitfalls, and those who practice know what skeletons are in the closet. We can talk about billable hours, difficult courts schedules, the fast pace of technology and its impact on the law, the demands of corporate counsel and clients. They know the risks of not being paid, of not winning or being able to sustain the victories forever, all while other attorneys leave the firm or practice altogether.

With so many different pressures beset upon lawyers, we can understand why the rates of anxiety, depression, suicide, substance abuse and stress are so high. With the benefits come the burdens. As for the burdens, most lawyers can deal with them. In fact, most attorneys who read this will have no issue in having awareness of their well-being. They’re likely doing great, backed by family, friends and other support systems. Maybe they balance work by being involved in sports or social organizations, or by going to church, synagogue, into nature, or any other house of worship.


‘Although most attorneys I know have managed to balance civic life, public life and family life, that’s not everyone, and that’s not always. If you’re happy and in good shape, be thankful, but please don’t be dismissive. Remember that it’s not just about the “me” but about the “we” of the profession.

According to the statistics, someone in your sphere is likely struggling. It may be with difficulties of the law or difficulties in life– because being a lawyer grants no immunity from the stress of a divorce, the loss of a loved one, the illness or special needs of a child, the aging of parents, or unforeseeable financial ruin. The Covid-19 pandemic reminds us how, no matter our level of optimism, our tomorrows are full of uncertainty. However, what IS certain, is that NO MATTER WHAT, we have a say in our well-being.

One way struggling lawyers can take advantage of Lawyer Well-Being Week is by speaking with a therapist. I know that, for some, the idea of therapy is anathema. They equivocate seeking help with being “weak,” “damaged” or “helpless,” believing in myths I could spend my life trying to debunk. Others believe it’s only for serious mental illness with a diagnosis, or for those whose lives look something like the Joker. Although we therapists work with a wide range of clients and symptoms, we also treat the working well.

A 2015 Forbes magazine article cited the top reasons why high-functioning professionals attended therapy, one being fear. They had fear of losing what they had, fear of the limelight wearing off and not keeping up performance, and fear of imposter syndrome. In my experience, lawyers also attend therapy to stay focused, remaining in purpose, or to handle day-to-day stressors instead of bottling them up. That’s a pretty good strategy, since research shows about 80% of clients attending therapy feel they had benefited. It also makes sense to be proactive, since research is also clear on how early intervention not only saves lives but saves money and relationships too.


Think of therapy as another viable way of taking care of yourself and maintaining self-care. There’s no shame or stigma to it. Civil rights and feminist activist Audrey Lorde said it best: caring for one’s self is not indulgence but self-preservation, an act she likened to political warfare. Especially now, during this once-in-a-lifetime event, I don’t want lawyers feeling alone or that they don’t have someone they can confide in. Most importantly, I don’t want anyone to reject therapy because of stigma or the fear they will be judged or ridiculed. In my view, therapy is basically a sacred conversation: a confidential, trusting place to be heard, be, to be seen, and to just be. It’s a place to restore you back to you. What if we viewed therapy as not jeopardizing a career, but amplifying it?


To honor lawyers and all they do, I’m offering 4 low-cost daily therapeutic chats for lawyers who want to explore what therapy is all about. Sessions of 45 minutes will be held during Lawyer Well-Being Week, Monday through Friday, May 4 to 8, 2020, in the morning from 8am–10:30am and the evening from 4pm–7pm with a special introductory price of $25 for LWBW only. You’ll need to call directly to make an appointment, as space is limited. You can reach me at 786/708-1724, or email me at CarlaBarrow@TheIntegralTherapist.com. You will need to have a secure Wi-Fi connection so we can use a HIPAA compliant tele-therapy format.

I invite you to give it try. Come take a load off–clear anything you need to say, and be heard and acknowledged for all that you’re up to in life. Check out a new way to engage in self-care and tell stigma to take a hike.



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