Help me, don’t analyze me or pathologize me!
I was just given a humbling, reflective moment – a dose of my own medicine!
I discovered, that I do NOT like being therapized!
Yes, this, from a therapist!
Let me fill in the details, so that you might understand more what I’m meaning.
Right now, in Victoria’s COVID lock down, I’m seeking other therapists who might like to volunteer, to offer some pro-bono hours to overseas students, stranded in Australia during COVID. Why?
Because a past client of mine, who has somewhat lived that journey, set up an amazing website and support group to help these young people through – it’s called, http://westandtogether.com.au/ So I had put a shout out to my professional groups online and a few had kindly responded.
Amongst these really well meaning folk, was a therapist that inboxed me and kindly said what a great job I was doing. Well, I’m doing very little to be honest, but her words helped on a day that I’m thoroughly fed up with Melbourne’s l-o-n-g lock down, and so, I thanked her and told her how her words had helped me.
And that’s when it came …. the unsought “therapy” … what does ‘grinding my wheels’ mean to me? ARRRRRGGGGGHHHHHHHHhhhhhh
I didn’t need therapy – I just needed an empathic ear to hear my ‘thank you’!!
So it got me thinking on my permitted 1 hour walk in the sunshine (oh how good that sunshine felt!). In fact that sunshine, felt far more healing than the well-intentioned therapy comment and all the clever philosophising text that followed about the difference between despair and apathy or malaise! I knew it came from a good place, but it didn’t leave me feeling in a good place.
There’s a big difference between good therapy and feeling therapized!
One is proactively seeking assistance to help ourselves – it’s empowering. The other feels like being told what’s wrong with us and how we ‘should’ help ourselves.
The latter totally pushes my “I’m not good enough” button, and that is definitely not empowering or helpful to me!
It felt like I was told that because I’m a therapist, I should be sailing through lock down, rollicking in my mindfulness and tapping and deep breathing!
When really, I’m grieving – I’m grieving the loss of friendly hugs, and smiles I can see the full face of! Grieving doesn’t need a lecture added to its burden, it just needs a kind listening heart that empathises, not analyses.
SO …. if you ever feel therapized, analysed or judged by me … feel free to let me know!
I don’t ever want my clients, or supervisees, to feel what I just felt.
I want them to truly feel seen.
And most of all, that what ever they are feeling, says nothing about who they are, other than it’s their body’s response to something that’s challenging them. I’m so glad they could note it, and share it with me because that’s how we best release the troublesome feelings, to get our needs met, and ultimately feel good again.
Therapy… good counselling … should feel like we’re having a chat about something that’s really challenging … hurting … worrying … intimidating or overwhelming you … and I’m providing a safe physical and emotional space for us to look at that together.
See that final word … “together” … that’s what was missing from my well meaning colleague’s messages. Instead of “together”, I felt alone in her analyses of me and her rush to fix that problem in me!
So dear clients and supervisees … if you ever feel therapized by me, do me a favour, and let me know – you’ll really be helping me to be a much better counsellor, next time.
PS There is another version of being therapized, that just nods it’s head and says, “and how did that make you feel?” Don’t get me started on that one! That’s another blog all on it’s own!