Therapy Thursday

Wow! It is difficult to find consistency in some things. Does anyone else have that problem?

I’m pretty sure part of the problem is that since my last post, I have downloaded a dating app. Again. After deleting it. Again.

The things humans will do for love.

I decided to download it again because I feel like I am in a good enough place to know what I want and not feel bad about rejecting the men that don’t have those qualities. There is no “well maybe he’ll change his mind” or “It isn’t that important to me, and he’s really cute so I can totally deal with it.” NO, Kaylin. Just stop that.

People deserve to be with partners that don’t expect or hope that they will change. People deserve honesty.  People deserve to get what they want in life and in a partner.

You are people too. And I am people. I deserve these things. Perhaps I’ll share more about that at a later date. App/online dating stories are always fun.

Which brings me to my next point. I originally called this post “Therapy Notes Thursday,” which as I’m thinking about it now sounds highly unethical and implies that I will be sharing my notes from sessions with the world. I should probably clarify and/or change that.

What I will be sharing is my experience, as the therapist, without giving any major details away and changing names and maintaining confidentiality and all that. The client will be secondary in this. My goal in this is to share the other side of the couch.  Being a therapist is exhilarating and terrifying and humbling and beautiful and produces anxiety and makes you cry and laugh and smile- yes, still talking about the therapist’s experience. This is my raison d’ĂȘtre. To be there, and hold on to my client’s deepest fears and insecurities and secrets and show them love and acceptance and understanding. (Side note, my best friend and I decided today that I am a mix of Kesha and Carl Rogers– glitter and empathy).

So I have a client who is recently out of an abusive relationship, and the ex is asking my client back. They haven’t returned, yet. Hopefully never… (In the cycle of abuse, the victim/survivor will leave and return to their partner on average 7-9 times before leaving for good. Please call for help if you know anyone or if you are in danger.)

Clients like this break my heart. Because of the above reasons. My head is full of rainbows and butterflies and glitter and sunshine and I want everyone to find their perfect partner, whatever that looks like, and be happy. That would be great. And victims of abuse don’t get that. They get stuck in a place of love and hope for change.

So my experience- we used an assessment from Imago therapy, which is pretty interesting.  The client answers 5 questions about personality traits and characteristics of their caregivers, as well as their needs as a child. Then, the therapist (that’s me!) turns those qualities into personality traits of their romantic partners.  I used to do this in groups with my addicts and it is almost 100%. It’s really crazy.

So I did the interpretation and IT WAS AMAZING. This client is highly protected and shut off from feeling, but thy started to cry and talked about how much they want to be happy. These are the moments I live for! To have a client and feel as though I can’t reach them or I can’t get through to them, to them have them feeling and expressing is so beautiful. I got a little misty, I won’t lie. I was nervous to do this assessment. I’m slowly learning to accept that not everyone will open up to me as easily as others. I’m learning that the only way to be the best therapist that I can be, is by simply being myself and being present with my clients. Those are always my best sessions- the ones when I’m not thinking and I’m just being.

Does that apply to other careers? I would love to know!

We ended the session by deciding on the smallest steps that the client could take on the path to finding what it is they want. Progress doesn’t have to be huge and scary and life changing all at once. In fact, it’s probably better if personal growth happens at a slower pace.

What small things do you all do to help yourselves grow and create love yourself? I recently began putting my hand on my heart as soon as I wake up, and I say out loud, “good morning, Kaylin. I love you.” I heard about it on this TED talk. I’m only like 3 days in, and I’ve forgotten to do it a couples times, but I’ll let you know what I notice.