Happy Friday! As part of a blog challenge, I have been asked to write about the biggest lessons I have learned about myself from my work as a therapist. This is a biggie and, as always, I am going to be very honest here because what would the point be otherwise.
As I think about this, I think there are two major lessons. If you know me in real life, you might think to yourself “no kidding” as you read this, but here I go anyways.
As a human, I am not actually all that warm and fuzzy and sometimes I really even struggle to care. Gasp, I know. HOW THE HELL DID I GET INTO THIS ROLE???!!! It’s funny as I’ve been thinking about this more and more recently. I have always been told I am a little harsh. I am very upfront and sometimes lack a filter. This is a really great attribute when I am at a bar with friends and am being hilarious and sarcastic and making everyone laugh with my quick wit but can be a real negative thing when I accidentally say something that should have stayed in my head or when I say something in a way that I didn’t really mean it to sound. My resting bitch face doesn’t help either. At work, I think I generally do a good job. I have been told by very experienced therapists that have seen me work that I am really good at showing the client that I am listening and they are being heard. I accept my clients for who they are right in this moment and help them feel like I am on their team. I got you. I am here to help. But, I am not the warmest person ever. I realize that.
My clients also get the best me that I have to offer. After a day of work, I really have to muster up the energy to be empathetic at home. I have 2 little kids and a husband and sometimes I just really have to dig very deep to care at home with my family. I know I am not alone in this as my most favorite yoga teacher who is loved by so many people recently said something similar. When I am in class with her and she is smiling, spreading joy and love to everyone and taking extra care to tuck me in with a blanket for savasana, I can’t imagine that she is anything other than warm and loving all the time, but she recently mentioned that she really struggles with being empathetic and caring when she’s at home. Like when she’s home with her kids or husband who are sick, she has to really try hard to care. Same, girl, same. Seriously. I have recognized this and am truly trying to balance my work life a little better so I am not so drained when I am at home, but also just knowing that this is a struggle for me, helps me practice.
In graduate school, we were taught that we could be helpful to clients even if we didn’t struggle with their particular ailments, disorder, stress. Of course this is true. We don’t need to also have major depressive disorder in order to help a client who does. But, I will say that becoming a parent has been a game changer for how I can relate to and help parents. Before I was a Mom, I would work with children and their families and help parents learn more effective and respectful ways to parent and I was decent at it. Results were good but I didn’t really get it. I didn’t understand why the parents were always so exhausted and their fuses were short. I didn’t understand all of the dynamics, stress and exhaustion. NOW I DO. I get it. As a therapist, I have learned that sometimes our real life experiences offer much more to a client than our education and experiences as a therapist. Mama, I understand why the mornings are so stressful and your child is getting to school late despite your best efforts. I hear you. I see you. I will help you.
Much love all! Make this weekend a good one!