The Therapist Behind the Clipboard
April 25, 2012 by
Categories: Therapy

I have recently been contemplating the purpose of this blog and what I am hoping others will take away from it. Deep in the thought process, it occurred to me that while not each post directly relates to therapy, or what it means to be a therapist, the essence of the writing does.

If the post is an author revealing an emotion or experience, it reflects the willingness to be vulnerable and to share. That the writers are therapists takes an important step to breaking down myths that therapists are merely fixers and removed not just from client’s lives, but from their own. That perceived clinical distance is far beyond what myself and this group of therapists strive to achieve.

In fact, I have come to believe that the therapist should also grow and learn as much as the client does; that in any kind of mutual relationship, it is near impossible to come away the same person. Some may reject this idea, feeling like it takes away the focus from the client. However, I believe that therapist growth is more subtle and does not deter from helping, but adds to the richness of what the therapist can offer. To deny self-growth in this unique experience would be a loss to both parties in the relationship.

I have to admit, this was not always my line of thinking. When I started out in my clinical program, I was under the impression that once I entered the therapy room, I would have to check all my issues aside and present a professional, “have it all together” attitude. After all, if the client perceived me as anything but, they would lose confidence in my professional ability, right?

Wrong. After a few sessions, it turned out that maintaining that role became a hindrance. I mentioned in a previous post that I thought keeping this professional role took away from my authenticity. But it’s more than that– Placing that standard of perfection on myself was not realistic, and above all, not relatable to the client. Each time I broke down that barrier, I noticed that the gap between client and therapist was shrinking. Putting aside the clipboard and note-taking, for example, made a considerable difference. Instead of hiding behind the notes and having some anxiety about remembering items for case notes or the next session, I was able to have a more relaxed posture, lean in, and feel more comfortable and equal with my clients. Just that one physical act spurred many changes in my style of therapy.

Bringing it back to this blog, it wasn’t until I finished the program and completely revitalized my definition of therapy that I realized through interactions with others,that so many misconceptions of therapy exist. And if I had many of my own, then how could I not expect others to? It became so important to me to share the truth about therapy, that it is not about shaming you, or fixing you, or diagnosing you, but about connecting with another human and finding that the power to change and gain insight lies in your hands. The therapist is merely a guide and a confidential listener who is rooting for you, but only you can make the decision to truly benefit from therapy.

What drew me towards the concept of this blog is thinking about what I would look for in a therapist— someone who understands pain, struggling, and depth of emotions. It does not mean that the therapist needs to literally tell me about their struggles, but through verbal and non-verbal empathy, I will feel that they understand my feeling. This is what I hope people will come to know, that therapists will hurt with you and laugh with you. There is a fine balance here between sharing and taking emotions, which I hope to share in another post.

It is important to mention that these are my personal views and not of all therapists. There are a variety of styles and modes of thinking, which I respect. Some people may not care to know about the style their therapist uses, while others may feel more comfortable with transparency. Regardless, I hope this blog continues to reflect a new side of therapists and therapy.

My questions to you are— What are or have been your conceptions of therapy?  How do you imagine the relationship would be like? Have your experiences matched that perception or negated it? 

Have unanswered questions? Feel free to ask myself or any members of CollectiveInquiry. We would be happy to respond.

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One Thought About The Therapist Behind the Clipboard

  • Ben
    April 23, 2014 at 7:14 am Reply

    greenhouse, restaurants, gas stinaots 2, antique mall, grocery store, bars, video stores, hair salons, flower shops, ins. real estate etc., had a few consignment shops but they never stayed open, mexican grocery, mexican restaurants, hallmark, massage therapy, small used furniture store, pharmacy, dollar stores.What are we missing you think would do well?Would like to have a reasonable start up price not something that costs an arm and a leg.

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