As a therapist I work with people to help them better understand themselves while also trying to make sense of the larger world we live in. We can focus on the individual and decipher out the ways they communicate to others or the patterns they continually, often unconsciously, recreate. Hopefully my clients learn more about who they are and sometimes learn more about the people surrounding them. I’m not the expert per se and I don’t pretend to know what’s best for others. Simply put, I am not anybody else. I have not lived my client’s lives or their experiences. I have only lived my own. However, I am trained to listen and to ask the right questions so the people I’m working with can find the answers to what is right for them.
Occasionally people focus on places seemingly far away where war, corruption, and sickness all exist. Lately, the conversation has turned to what’s happening close to home, here in the United States. Shooting after shooting after shooting leaves both of us dumbfounded. While the conversation may incorporate the heated topic of gun control it goes way beyond that. The underlying issue and questions circle around hate. My clients vary from each other and from myself when it comes to race, gender, sexual orientation, and religion. It’s not about my opinions or me but about the people I’m working with and how they try to make sense about what’s going on. We discuss crucial topics such as race, sexual identity, and religious beliefs. These are valuable conversations because they lead back to the individual in front of me. It opens the door for us to discuss their experiences, both past and present, and how those experiences influence their thoughts and feelings.
During difficult and sad times both my clients and myself are struggling to understand what’s happening in today’s world. We share confusion. We share sadness. We share disbelief. The therapy room ultimately remains a place for clients to have their own voice. After all, I don’t always have answers, explanations, or words of wisdom. I offer, empathy, kindness, and a place free of judgment.
At times it is impossible to help others find their own answers. Even though there may not be answers to the endless questions they ask I feel it’s important that they keep asking. Trying to figure out the world is another way of helping the individual to figure out him or herself too.