Client Share: The Therapy Journey

Therapy Journey

Client Share: The Therapy Journey

By SCC Client March 12, 2024 03.12.2024 Share:
Communication Connection Counseling Expectations Growth Reflection Therapy

In this series called ‘Client Share’, we make room for our clients who want to use their experiences with relationships, mental health, and their therapy journey to help others who might benefit from this client’s experiences. Names and identifying information have been changed or removed to protect the client’s identity.

Recommending Therapy

The hesitant look of the young co-worker who entered my office could imply many things. Asking if I knew the name of a counselor was not at the top of my list of something that this person would ask me. I have not been shy about expressing my views on the positivity of counseling and therapy, so I shouldn’t have been surprised that I was called upon to be a trusted advisor for a recommendation. What is remarkable to me is the advice that spewed from my mouth -“Don’t be afraid to ask them questions about their counseling style (e.g. talk therapy); Don’t be afraid to look elsewhere if you don’t feel that it’s a good fit. If you start and find the relationship is not what you expected, feel free to move on to someone else. Remember the story that you are trying to sort out is yours and you need someone to explain the chapters in a manner that you will understand.”
I gave so much advice without really thinking about it. This was simply my own experience. Looking ahead at life, I suspect no one starts out thinking you will someday need the services of a counselor for therapy. Yet, when a crisis hit my personal life, I somehow knew that a counselor was who I needed to reach out to. Knowing that counseling services could be an option in navigating the “issues” in your life is not something I think most people know or would consider. Even with greater acceptance and acknowledgment of mental health in society, I think most of the general population thinks counseling carries a mysticism that only a certain few get to experience or, better yet, benefit from.

My Journey through Therapy

My journey through counseling began with my ex-spouse’s infidelity. The exposure shocked the happy family life I thought I had. What I didn’t expect was the resistance from my ex-spouse to participate in counseling. That resistance led to the demise of the marriage and the beginning of a journey I did not intend to take alone. In the course of that journey, new discoveries about myself have been made (which seems so positive) but, unfortunately, along the way, the darkness of depression and suicidal ideation plagued me and continues to plague me through it all. Navigating the plethora of emotions and self-analysis has not been easy on me and, I suspect, my counselor.
What I longed for in my counseling, both then and several years later, is the validation of my feelings and emotions. I think most clients want to know that the person on the opposite side of the couch will show empathy for their situation and mental state. I don’t want to gloss over the word “validation.” It is imperative to the client that the emotions they express to the counselor are not just some made-up event in their head. Even if the counselor hasn’t had that same experience, making a connection to something in the counselor’s life that matches what the client is experiencing will give them the connection they need to carry on. If the connection on that issue doesn’t happen, the client and the process will shut down. If that happens, the relationship, like a bad marriage or partnership, will simply exist and not be productive or beneficial to you.

Your Journey

I’ve often described the concept of the “eggshell” client to my counselor. The experience, thought or understanding of a client and how they handle those experiences from their own mental health interpretation of the matter, is completely based on that client. Each client is different. An issue that causes no real effect for one client, may crack the life of another. Hence the egg-shell analogy. Counselors don’t get to pick which issues should be dismissed or paramount to a client. To that client, at that point in time, that issue is the most important thing in their life. Recognition by the counselor of the fragility of the issue to the client is paramount.  The client is looking to the counselor to validate their emotions and perspective and help begin processing that experience in a way that will bring healing and recovery.
Ready to start your therapy journey? Schedule your appointment today. 
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