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  • Fe Robinson

Can you be real when it matters?

One of the commitments I have as a psychotherapist is that I am real and authentic with my clients. For me, this is the basis of relationship. Psychotherapy is a relational practice, my role is to help the client be with the way they relate to themselves, to others, and to their world, and to enable them to make changes where this is what they wish to do.


Being real, however, is a messy business. Authenticity has an immediacy to it, it’s about being present, right here, right now. It’s about encountering whatever it is that is in the moment, whether we like it or we do not. That can be challenging, it calls on us to get comfortable with the depth and breadth of our own experience, and to do the same with the experience of the other. When you are real with yourself, you’ll find you have all sorts of emotions, lovely, nice to be with ones, and sometimes intense or unpleasant ones, or ones you’d rather not acknowledge.


Authentic relationships are not always plain sailing. Sometimes we have rubs and bumps along the way, we do things that jar, and our relationship ruptures. The key thing is, can we repair? Can we be with the discomfort that we feel, share it, move through it, and use it as a moment to strengthen the depth of understanding and rapport? When this is possible, the relationship becomes deeper and broader, and our authenticity within it grows.


A psychotherapeutic relationship is an unusual one. We don’t talk about the narrative detail of our lives as therapists, we focus entirely on the content the client brings. We focus on the structure of how the client brings what they do, and match that so that we can pace and lead them to where and how they want to be. In doing so, you might think the therapist is somewhat removed, or distant, it’s all about the client after all. However, nothing could be further from the truth. To truly be present with a client as they are, in all of their magnificent quirkiness, a psychotherapist gives all of themselves, all of their attention and focus, all of their sensing and intuition, and connects deeply. If I am holding myself back or somehow hiding, how could a client ever really bring their whole self in turn?


Before I work, I silently ask ‘may all that enters pass through to ground.’ I hope and expect that we will co-create an energetic field in which much is held and processed, and that this will impact and change us both. Clients touch me emotionally and spiritually and thank goodness they do. It is in the depth of that therapeutic relating that the magic alchemy of healing takes place.




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