After years of listening to clients, these are the top 5 most common statements I hear when someone begins therapy. (Not that I would let someone eavesdrop of course, I’m all about HIPPA compliance!) Therapy is unique in that rather than offering a prescription, we are offering a relationship. These statements represent the client exploring and testing out the relationship to determine if they can trust me enough to be authentic and vulnerable. I hope the answer to both is yes.
- I told myself I wasn’t going to cry.
Really? Because crying is an outward expression of strong emotion. If you’re brave enough to come into therapy to sort through your stuff, then let’s be honest about how you’re feeling. This is the one place you don’t have to edit your reaction or response. In fact, therapy is best when you don’t edit AT ALL. Although I’m not Barbara Walters, I sometimes think I’m only good if you do cry. Ok- not really, but it is an indicator that someone has let their guard down. That is a great start.
- You’re going to think I’m crazy, but…
I’ve been doing this long enough to see all kinds of crazy. And by crazy I mean wearing black stockings over your face crazy. So if you’re sitting on my couch asking the “Am I crazy?” question, you’re probably not.
- I’ve never told anyone this…
What follows is usually something you imagine might be shocking but actually is just shockingly normal. So yes, I hear your terrible secret and no, I’m not running out the door. Still here.
- I’m sorry- I’m just rambling.
Yeah, that’s kind of what therapy is. If you’ve got your session scripted prior to your arrival we might need to revisit number 2. Therapy is not about being polite. For this hour it is all about you. It’s getting things out of our head and examining them, holding them up to the light to see if they’re important, if they’re useful, and if they’re even true.
- You must have the worst job ever – having to listen to all of this.
Actually I think I have the best job ever. In the midst of brokenness and deep sorrow I see the most beautiful souls. It is an absolute honor to hold this sacred space, to walk with you, and to watch God redeem and restore what was lost. I often feel like I’m the one eavesdropping on Him.
Leigh Willhelm is a Licensed Counselor in Huntsville Alabama. You can reach her at 256-665-9966 or Leigh@rocketcitycounselor.com