For years, psychotherapist Taylor Glenn told her clients happiness lay in doing what felt right, in following your passions.

Smash the shackles, she said. Then she realised an uncomfortable truth: in her own life, she was doing exactly the opposite. Taylor Glenn was handing out advice she wasn't following herself.

Now, at last, she is. After giving up her work as a psychotherapist, the 34-year-old American is touring Europe as a stand-up comedian and next month appears at the Fringe with a show about her experiences. Not only does it explore what happens to someone who spends years listening to other people's problems, it turns therapy into comedy. "Finally," says Glenn, "I'm allowed to be my crazy self too."

Looking back on this decision to change careers, Glenn says she believes all of us are wired to do certain jobs and that ignoring this wiring can make you unhappy. "I think we have personality structures and are conditioned towards certain jobs," she says. "I saw this all the time as a psychotherapist. We're led into what we do."

The problem for Glenn was that she was working as a psychotherapist but felt wired to be a stand-up. "By the end of my time in psychotherapy," she says, "it felt like I was in shackles. I thought: I'm way too controlled."

And so two years ago, Glenn made the decision to change and although she earns much less than she used to and travels much more, she still thinks it was the right decision. Another bonus is that she now feels she can finally take on the taboo subject of what being a therapist is like.

"I learned to yawn through my nose, for example, which is the kind of thing they never taught you at university," she says. "They don't tell you if you have to yawn don't let your patients see that because they'll be devastated so you learn to yawn and look really interested."

Being honest about therapy in this way has been hard for Glenn because she was a conscientious psychotherapist; she took it very seriously. "I would never break my ethical code or anything like that but I have to be honest about what it was like on the other side of that chair. And I think it's refreshing for an audience to see that therapists are just normal people who swear and have weird thoughts and have a sense of humour."

What Glenn certainly isn't saying is that therapists should be sitting in sessions cracking jokes but she is saying they should lighten up a little. "You need reverence because I don't think people want to risk going to a clinician if they think they're not going to be taken seriously but we've taken that way too far to the point where we're not human any more and I think that's working against us. We're being too serious. We're not being human enough. You don't have to be stand-ups but lighten up a little bit."

Taylor Glenn's Reverse Psycomedy is at Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2012, Gilded Balloon, The Turret from 1-26 August. For more information, call 0131 622 6552 or visit