There are millions of blogs published every day in addition to podcasts, traditional media, and social media feeds overwhelming our world with content. So why add my voice to this cacophonous fray? Here is this blog’s raison d’être, it’s reason for being. Given we’re all living the pandemic life for the foreseeable future, I hope the commentary, information, and resources can provide a steady stream of positive coping mechanisms for anyone in need of them. I’ve tailored this space for my current clients so they can get more information on topics we’ve discussed in session and to be empowered in their healing and growth.
But, actually, publishing this blog is a “selfish” act for my own personal development. My clients know that I like to walk my talk as much as I can. As I tell them, writing not only helps us gain more coherence over our experiences, it can also filter the information that’s flowing at us from multiple directions into usable knowledge. Exploring ideas in writing has always helped me to delve deeper into my own thoughts and feelings, and continues to enable me to make connections just eluding me. This is also why it’s also hard to share thoughts even quasi-publicly.
As the brilliant Anna Nalick (2004) sings, “I feel like I’m naked in front of the crowd, ‘Cause these words are my diary, screaming out loud, And I know that you’ll use them, however you want to.” Most of us would like to have power and control over how people think of us, but for developmental trauma survivors being misunderstood even in a social media post is tantamount to grave injustice because of past injuries. With healing wounds from the past comes acceptance that we don’t have control over how others perceive us, but we can work collaboratively to improve understanding. As with many of the barriers I’ve tackled, my inspiration for this blog comes from other survivors who fear and do it anyway to work on communication and intimacy. I am honored to work with courageous clients who walk through the door every week to deal with their issues and to have brilliant young nieces and nephews who are already makers transforming our world for the better.
With expression and even minimal social media participation, there comes the potential for conflict even if you are interpreted the way you intend. It could be jarring to see something that doesn’t fit with your view of your therapist, or even challenges your own beliefs. For example, you may see me supporting a vegan lifestyle as a volunteer for the Veg Society of DC, but this non-profit shares my value of non-judgmental encouragement and acceptance that others need to be free to make the choices that work best for them. I don’t look for my clients online or on social media because it’s important for them to retain the power of selection, choosing what and when to share information with me. But when clients ask personal questions about me, I am relatively transparent because they deserve the respect to know who they are developing a relationship with—and because the real importance of the question is how it reflects back on them and their process.
As a systemic therapist, I track dysfunction not within a person but in their relationships with themselves, others, and the world. So the essence of my work is to engage in a healing relationship with clients to improve their ability to connect whether they are individuals, couples, families, or even groups. Ideally, the client-therapist relationship is a special bond formed in a safe cocoon where the focus is totally on the client’s needs. In this special relationship, it’s their experiences, values, and opinions that take center stage with my thoughts simply providing validation or a different perspective for reflection. While clients will always be the primary expert on themselves and their relationships, I collaborate with them to facilitate the journey.
Yet, it’s not a clear cut relationship like you may have with a medical doctor. One of the main ingredients for successful therapy is a reparative relationship with the therapist. Ironically, negative reactions to us can help clients reach core attachment wounds and open the door to a deeper level of healing work. All relationships take effort, and they are as messy as humanity is. So if my words out here or in session evoke emotions or thoughts, let’s talk through it.
Until next session, I wish you all good health!