Unlike some professions, being a therapist is a job but it is also something that most of us feel called to do. A good and competent therapist is often one who engages in this work as a service to their community but also a service to their own heart or soul's desire to touch the lives of others in a meaningful way. Some of us have worked in the helping professionals our entire adult lives and take this commitment to serve very seriously.
Many of us therapists wish that you, our client, knew a few things…and here they are:
1) I am not judging you.
There are many things that make a therapist different from a close friend or your local bartender with a listening ear.…your therapist is trained to hold you with a sense of unconditional positive regard. This means no judgment…like really none.
Sure, therapists are humans too but most of us hold this tenet of our profession sacred…what makes me different from Jill-Schmoe on the street is that I have committed myself to holding a healing space free from blame, shame or judgment. Period.
I have worked with people in a variety of ways for over 20 years…adolescents in group homes, teen mothers at live-away schools, foster care families, men court ordered to complete anger management classes, veterans with PTSD, upper-middle-class couples looking repair their marriages, highly affluent couples grappling with affairs and financial ruin and everything in between. What I know, without a shadow of a doubt is that judgment does not serve me or my clients. So I don’t use it.
2) I don’t think that you are broken…or a failure…or crazy.
When a new client walks into a therapist’s office, the therapist greets the client often with great excitement (quiet excitement that is), respect, and compassion. The therapist’s job is to create and nurture this new relationship with the client with a sense of curiosity and support so that the client can meet her or his therapeutic goals.
Thoughts about a client being broken or a failure have no place in a therapeutic office…and any therapist worth their weight adheres to this philosophy.
3) I think it is pretty great that you are asking for help.
Getting to the place where you are ready to ask for help is really an exciting time, albeit painful. It means that you are ready to try something new…that you have exhausted your own toolbox and have the courage to ask someone else for support and guidance. It means that your life is on the precipice of transformation and for most therapists, this is the best part of our work with you.
4) I know that it takes a lot of courage and vulnerability to show up in my office.
Here’s a little secret…most therapists are in therapy themselves. And if they are not presently in therapy, they have been in therapy before (most graduate programs require it) and in some cases have been in therapy for many many years. So therapists intimately know what it is like to walk into a therapist’s office as a new client…and respect your willingness to show up despite the pain and discomfort that you might be in this moment.
Ready to see how therapy might benefit you and your relationship? Call 720.457.3342 to schedule an appointment or set up a free 20-minute consultation. Or book online 23/7 by clicking the red button at the top of your screen.