Working with people and offering counselling definitely brings challenges to every therapist, in different ways, of course. Every person is different even though sometimes you do notice similarities between them. As a therapist I find myself, over and over again, feeling a mixture of emotions whenever clients come into the therapy room. I am happy to see some of them and excited to hear what they have to say, nervous towards others because I am not completely sure why they are here and how I can help them, curious to find out how they perceived their first session and what they expect from me further on and the counselling process.
During my sessions I might transition from one of these emotions to another one, by the end of the counselling hour. I like to reflect upon myself, the client, and the work we have done during that hour. I feel I am a part of their process and I try to facilitate their growth by letting the client bring whatever he/she decides. Of course I need to contain and direct the session, but they provide the “working material”. It is a 2 way process: if they grow, I grow; if they suffer, I suffer with them (most of the times); if they are happy and content, that makes me feel satisfied that I am doing my job; if they get frustrated, it gives me a similar feeling and I learn to control my reaction and learn from it.
Most of them don’t know I feel these things. Some of them are surprised that I decide to join their process and walk with them on this journey. Something beautiful happens when I get to see clients and be a part of their breakthrough. I don’t realize sometimes how much that means to them. Too often I’ve felt the session was not helpful enough, only to see my clients at the end leaving with a smile and things to reflect on. When someone who hasn’t cried for years let’s me see their vulnerable side, when they open up and share things they have kept hidden, those are the most amazing and precious moments. I cannot describe the feelings I have after such a session, but I can feel something inside of me changing, a small inner voice saying: ‘This was a good day. Good job.’
I enjoy my own growth as a professional and as a person besides the frustration of not seeing results as often as I’d like to. I remind myself I am there for them and that therapy is a journey, not a destination.