As a therapist there are fairly strict ethically boundaries that need to be adhered to that can be difficult sometimes. Sure, I may share pictures of my dog or random anecdotes from my life, but I don’t generally share much about myself.
There are some things however that I really wish my clients knew so I am here to share some of those things…
- I am not judging you. Although I have definitely not heard it all, I have heard many interesting things, and you are not the “worst case scenario”. I feel so bad when I hear people say things to me such as: have you ever heard anything this bad? Or you must be so shocked? I want people to know that they aren’t alone in their struggles, other people have gone through similar things and that it is not my job to judge. You are the expert on your own life and although I can offer support and knowledge, your life is up to you!
- I am not here to tell you what to do. At the end of the day I am a human just like you. I appreciate that you want my advice and opinion, but counseling is not about giving my advice or opinion. Counseling is not a magic eight ball where people go to get answers. Hopefully through the process you will get answers from learning about yourself and what you want in life, but I am not a fortune teller.
- Similar to point #2, do not expect to feel better after one session. Sometimes, you will feel worse after sessions due to the content of what we’re talking about. I think often people give up on counseling because they go one or two times and they don’t feel “fixed” or that they have the “answer” yet. I completely understand wanting things to get better, I am not a very patient person myself so when it comes to my life I can be very impatient with things changing for the better; but unfortunately that’s not quite how it works. Going through the process will help so much more in the long run, but it does take patience and hard, emotional work!
- I’m just a human. Although part of therapist schooling and training is learning how to set our problems aside to be present and unbiased with our clients, at the end of the day I am just a human too. I am not going to say all the right things all the time (although wouldn’t that be great if I did?) It doesn’t mean that I don’t care or don’t have great things to offer; it just means that I am human too.
- Of course I think about you. It would not be healthy if I went home from sessions and just thought about my clients, I do not do that, but I obviously will think about my clients in between sessions. I’ll wonder how they’re doing or I’ll see/hear something that I think, “Oh I want to tell (client) about!” Hopefully, if I’m doing my job right, you’ll think of what we talked about in between sessions as well!
If you’re seeing a therapist and you have a question about therapy, about your therapist, or anything, please ask!!
There are certain things I will never tell my clients such as my age, or where I live. But I will never be upset if you ask these things, I understand wanting to know! My goal is to have all of my clients feel comfortable enough that they can ask me anything, even if it’s something that I can’t necessarily answer, it’s important to talk about!