I have struggled to reconcile the public nature of social media with my work as a counsellor. The people I admire on social media are open, interactive and – above all – real. On the other hand, throughout our training it is drilled into us that therapists do not disclose details about their lives. There is merit in this of course. Frankly put, the message is, “don’t bring your shit to a session your client is paying for!” Even when you experienced something similar, we should never assume the same reaction or impact.
I have been in private practice for a while now and have had the privilege of being allowed behind the masks that most of us put forward to the world. The best therapeutic outcomes, the most powerful change and real growth come from moments of true connection – those “I see you” moments that free us of the bravado, the brave face and ingrained behaviours that shape our everyday. How can you hope to have an authentic connection with another human being if you don’t bring yourself to the meeting?
Granted, it does feel safe to hide behind the excuse that a therapist should be a ‘blank canvas’. I have come to realise, however, that allowing a client to know you can have therapeutic benefit. In my experience, my clients want to understand what my motivation to help is. Knowing this helps them to build trust in me. Understanding a person’s story helps us to bond and, in the same way, learning about a therapist’s path can help us firstly to find the right counselling fit and then ultimately to connect.
So, I am with some trepidation putting my head above the parapet to say hello on here. From now on amidst other posts related to my field, I intend to share information about myself that I hope will both help others on their wellbeing journey and make it easier for those looking to find me (and now you can keep me accountable, eek).