by Kelly Cave, LAPC
Things I’ve always wanted to ask my therapist…
I love this question so much because I believe that it speaks to the heart of us all. We all want to be remembered, to be important, to be meaningful. No one wants to be forgotten. The answer to this is simply, yes. Do we think about you daily? No, probably not. But the moment you open your heart to us and share your story, you become a part of us. We take seriously the role of holding your story and we carry it with us. Because of that, it’s hard to not think of you.
- Do you win every argument with your spouse?
Let this be a resounding NO! Although I am not married I have witnessed many of my married counselor friends lose plenty of fights with their spouses and I personally have lost fights with my loved ones. Why? Because so many emotions are involved in our own personal relationships. It’s easy to see the problems that other people have when you are not the one experiencing all of the feelings that they are.
- Do therapists struggle with their own things and do they go to counselors too?
Sure! Being a therapist may allow us to understand emotions better or identify our emotions more easily but it certainly does not make us immune to life’s problems. Similarly, we are not immune to issues such as depression and anxiety. Often times, therapists get into this line of work because of their own personal experiences with mental health issues or other problems in their lives and have overcome them with the help of counseling or through other avenues. I would hope that most counselors have been or are currently in counseling themselves. The reason I think this is important is twofold; one being that we should understand what it is like on the other side of the couch. We should know and experience what we are asking for when asking you to disclose such vulnerable and personal information. The second reason is that no matter how “healthy” you are, there is always room for more self-growth and self-exploration.
- How do you not get emotionally attached to your clients?
This is a difficult question because it implies that we shouldn’t get emotionally attached to our clients. Does my emotional health depend on yours? No. Does my sense of self depend on your getting better? No. But of course we develop emotional attachments and care about you. You bare yourselves to us. You take a risk with being vulnerable with us and we walk through your journey with you. It’s hard to not care about someone who is willing to let you in like that. There have been plenty of times that I’ve gone home feeling extremely happy because one of my client’s made a huge stride in treatment and there are times that I go home feeling sad for my clients. I couldn’t imagine not feeling for my clients.
- Do you ever like a client so much that you “break up” your therapeutic relationship to be friends with them?
Unfortunately, no. There are different ethical regulations for every profession (Professional Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy) that dictate the length of time that has to lapse in order to enter into a relationship of any kind with a client. So, even if I did terminate a client in order to be friends with them we would have to wait two years, at the minimum, before being able to have a friendship. But even then it would be difficult because the relationship is built on one person taking care of the other and it would be hard to change the dynamic. This doesn’t mean that we have never wanted to. There have been plenty of times that I’ve thought, “Gosh, what a cool person! Too bad we met here.” But then I remember what an honor it is to enter into their story in this way and I feel grateful that I get to have the therapeutic relationship.
Kelly is a Licensed Associate Professional Counselor at Foundation Counseling. She enjoys working with individuals and families in the Marietta & Kennesaw area. Learn more about her and other therapists at Foundation Counseling here.