Taking the Client’s Chair

help with resilience brightonAny therapist worth their salt will have gone through or be going through many months of their own therapy. Personally, as a client, I wouldn’t want to go to see any practitioner who hadn’t been through this experience and come out the other side – more or less still standing.
I believe that therapists who have significant unconscious and unresolved issues of their own can at best be ineffective and at worst cause harm.This doesn’t mean that therapists should be completely sorted emotionally (that would be both boring and really annoying) but that they should be aware of their own sensitivities, limitations and propensity to walk head on into trouble.
This is why I would always choose to have counselling or psychotherapy with someone (like me!) who has completed a UKCP or BACP accredited training course where weekly attendance at personal therapy forms part of the qualifying criteria. In other words, I want to work with someone who knows what it feels like to sit in that (frankly rather uncomfortable Ikea) chair and talk through difficult personal stuff with a person they know virtually nothing about. On top of that, therapy is a one-sided affair; while I as a client share some of my most dark and scary feelings, the therapist confines him or herself to sharing only how they feel being with me in the therapy room. Knowing that my own therapist has gone through this process as a client is, for me, both comforting and reassuring.
My own therapy has helped me to become more self-aware, particularly in terms of how my behaviour impacts on other people. I learnt how to set more effective boundaries and how to communicate those boundaries to others so that they could hear them clearly. I learnt how to take better emotional care of myself. I learnt how to look at scary stuff I’d pushed to one side and pretended wasn’t having a detrimental effect on my life. In short, I feel I’ve become more resilient.
And, as my circumstances change, I’m still learning.
I aim to offer my clients a professional therapeutic relationship with a real person – someone who has both strengths and weaknesses and who, crucially, is aware of what those strengths and weaknesses are.
Image courtesy of Surachai at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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