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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Things I'm afraid to tell my clients

 

Things I’m afraid to tell my clients

By Nicole Reger, MS, CRC, LPC-Intern

Supervised by Katrena Hart, LPC-S

My opinion doesn’t matter.  I can’t tell you how to live, who to love, where to work, how to let go, how to be brave, how to forgive, how to change, or how to improve your life.  I’m getting ahead of myself though.      

Last month The Washington Post online published Megan Downey’s hilarious article, “Things I’m afraid to ask my therapist.”  Told from her perspective as a client in therapy, we can see her therapist-complete with new haircut, a mystery thermos, and ill-fitting sweaters; the office around them- the suspiciously fast wall clock and possibly meaningful sketches of walnuts; and her persistent concern about her therapist’s view of her, “Does she think we’d be friends if we met under different circumstances?”

In addition to giving me a good laugh –and some ideas about wine in my thermos at work –Downey’s article reminded me of the questions clients often ask me in session.   In sessions with individual clients, the questions are directly concerned with perceived judgement, “You probably think that sounds crazy, right?” or “doesn’t it seem like I should be over this by now?”

In couples’ sessions, the questions I hear most often; “Are you married?”  or “How long have you been married?”  or, personal favorite, “How many times have you been married?” are all variations on the same theme – “What do you know about marriage?” 

Similarly, when I work with families, the questions typically challenge my ability to understand what they are going through and suspend judgement, “Do you have teenagers?”  or “Are you a step-parent?” 

What I am afraid to tell my clients is that it doesn’t matter what I think.  In fact, much of my training involves recognizing my own biases so I can approach each new counseling relationship with curiosity rather than assumptions.  My job is not to evaluate you as a person, a couple, a parent, or family member, but to work to understand your perspective. 

I am a counselor, and I don’t’ know anything about how hard it is for you, or your marriage, or your family life.  But I welcome the opportunity to learn about your experience and help you to get clear about your opinions.  From there we will explore together what works for you and how to make that happen.

CONTACT US

Bridging Harts Institute & Psychotherapy
203 S. Alma St. Suite #300
Allen, TX 75013
T: (972) 562 5002
Email: info@bridgingharts.com

   

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