Presence in the therapy room
I had the pleasure of delivering a workshop recently with some Counselling degree students at Bishop Auckland College. I went to talk to them about being an Integrative Psychotherapist, which gave me the opportunity to reflect on who I am as a therapist, and what it is that felt important to impart.
One of the themes of our dialogue was about presence and authenticity. Most people know that therapists don’t talk about themselves and the biographical details of their lives, therapy simply is not about us. What may be less apparent though, is the need for the therapist to be utterly and entirely in the room, with all that they are available to their client. The more present and open we are energetically, the more we create an environment for our clients to come forwards and also be more fully present.
I love the phrase ‘you do you.’ I last heard it on a TV show, and it really resonated, the idea that I do me, you do you, and the two really don’t need to be the same. We can each hold in awareness who and how we are, what our beliefs, preferences and ways of being in the world are, and we can encounter each other deeply, without either of us needing to adapt or edit ourselves to be what the other might prefer.
Clients can only bring to therapy what their therapist can bear. If there are parts of our own experience that we turn away from or choose to avoid, then how could we possibly create space for and hold resonant experiences in our clients?
I was thrilled to encounter a group of students who were deeply reflective, and interested in their own personal development journeys. I learned a lot from our time together, and look forward with relish to my next encounter as a teacher and guide.