To boldly go
June 8, 2012 by
Categories: Therapy

One morning while I was jogging, I was listening to a podcast. I like listening to podcasts occasionally while I jog because I have a lot of time to think when I run, and I find that running provides a great setting for me to think as much as I want. One part of this particular podcast talked about explorers and the important role they have played and will continue to play in history. My mind checked out at this idea and I began to think about how being a therapist is like an explorer.

Image by alexdehnel

When I listen to someone’s story, I am in unchartered territory. I may have been in similar terrain either in my own life or with another client or friend, but each terrain has it’s own unique characteristics. In marriage and family therapy, we actually have a saying that is taught early on: The map is not the territory. The map is not a manual, but rather our personal style of exploring with others. We have an additional set of “survival” skills that we use to keep ourselves and those we work with pressing on and from sinking into an abyss along the journey.

It is always an honor for me to embark on this journey through someone’s personal terrain. I imagine putting on my explorers cap, joining with clients and working together to cut though thick jungles, fight off annoying insects, overcome dangerous beasts, find oases, and enjoying hidden treasure. No journey is the same. I am aware of what I bring to the journey and together with what my client brings, we work our way though.

Is it exhausting? Oh yes. It is difficult? Let’s just say Indiana Jones doesn’t have anything on my clients and I. Do I enjoy it? Absolutely.

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