The polka dot skirt: a therapist’s story

The polka dot skirt: a therapist’s story

“Be careful of your outfit. What you are wearing is not appropriate for a psychologist”.

This remark made my polka dot skirt shrink. I was not dressed up in a provocative way. I was dressed in colors. I complied and I changed my wardrobe. Women’s suits, jackets and shirts were my new work wear. Neutrality and formality was the packaging suitable for Mrs psychologist.

I welcomed my clients with formal clothes and the look of the expert. This is what I was being taught. This is what I did. After all, my teachers knew better than me. Who was I to doubt the validity of their words?

I fastened my belt, straightened my collar and did my job. My heels might by tight in my toes, but who was I to complain? This is how therapy is applied. By serious people with appropriate garment and knowledge. I pushed myself to feel comfortable in my uniform. I creased myself for the sake of neutrality. 

My teachers’ argument started to fray inside me. I had been suffocating in these tight costumes. I didn’t permit myself to breath. I kept applying the manual; I kept behaving in a formal manner.

Being 29 and dressed as a lady I used to believe that I maintained a professional status. In reality my insecurity was hidden under the clothes. Struggling to be taken seriously I had quit my uniqueness.

One day I ran into colorful teachers. They observed how I had wrapped my practice and my knowledge. They were respectful. They accepted others’ differences. They even showed interest in learning from me. They were direct and non-judgmental. They were the ones who made me realize that it is therapeutic to be open and let the loose threads hang.

I am so grateful to all of them, because above all they allowed me to wear my polka dot skirt again.