Therapist Perspective Matters

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Therapist Perspective Matters

selective focus photography of woman holding clear glass ball
a spiral staircase with a light at the end

During our education and training pretty much all counsellors/psychologists/social workers/coaches are told repeatedly that in order to maintain a “professional relationship” they must not disclose their own personal stories.  We are told this because to get too personal blurs the boundaries between therapist and client from a professional helping relationship to a friendship one as well as risking the potential for turning the session around to be about the therapist story.    Admittedly I’ve struggled with this for years and have come to the conclusion it does matter how your therapist sees the world (present party included).  I also think it needs to be made clear by the therapist how they see the world.

Why is that important, you might ask?  Well here’s why.  Every person has a worldview or rather a way of seeing the world.  That worldview is shaped by our histories, experiences, education and lived experience.  As an example, I would have someone come into the office to let me know how much anxiety they are having at work.  If I am the type of avoid my own anxiety I might align myself with the view of the “quick fix, feel good world” and show them strategies how to reduce anxiety.  If I see life as a gift of learning born from pain, anguish and turmoil, I would, and do, let them know that we need to look differently at anxiety and see what its trying to teach us.  

The first approach doesn’t pay much attention to the fact they might be micro managed at work by someone who is threatening them with their job (or in that case, their survival) or triggering a past wound.  Rather I would look at the anxiety and give them ways to calm down.  The second worldview means that as we investigate that anxiety as a teacher, we come up with the fact that maybe that anxiety is telling that person to secure a plan and leave that job.  Either way, the way we look at the situation matters.