Behind the Eyes of the Therapist.

It’s so hard. So hard. To be close to these amazing people and yet to constantly ride the line between what is appropriate to share and to give-and what is not. Housing issues-come live with me. Job issues-my friend is hiring. Political issues-me too. Spiritual perspectives-here’s mine. I love them all and I love to meet my people as a person, a real person. I’m struggling-can I say that? I want to cry-can I do that? I’m scared-will that scare them?

I had no idea when I went into the field of counseling one the most difficult parts would be to hold back who I am, unable to exchange the deep layers of my own experiences for the depth offered to me. And I am certainly one of the most authentic and open therapists out there. How do the others do it?

One afternoon I was in session having just been proposed to and knowing that, in days I would be married to my best friend-someone my clients knew nothing about. Is this okay? It’s so spontaneous. Wait, is it ‘impulsive’ or worse ‘manic?’ My soul was bouncing inside of me like a happy airy ping pong ball while my client shared the heaviness of their pain. I met her there. But I felt like a fraud.

Countless times I give and listen and hold the heart of the client across from me while, my own heart aches with grief. I too struggle with overwhelm. Sometimes I am afraid. Sometimes I am tired.

Often, I’m working with someone I enjoy tremendously. It’s not uncommon for me to become distracted wishing we could go on a road trip together or meet for coffee instead of therapy. They would be so fun to hike with. I could trust her more than anyone else I know to watch my dogs. My daughter would just love her. She and my best friend should talk. They shouldn’t be alone when I could so easily have them over for the holiday.

I suppose loving my clients is a good problem; certainly better than the opposite. These are the thoughts the client never sees, never knows-probably never imagines. The divided therapist teaching the client to be integrated. Ironic? No, it’s not ironic, it’s mandated, forced, intentional, and darn it, I suppose it is necessary. Not at all easy.

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