As a therapist, I support my clients, but I too struggle at times. I feel that if I’m asking my clients to share the rawest parts of themselves, I should set an example of openness and honesty. If I can talk about hardship, so can they.
Lori Gotlieb is a well-known author and therapist who says our greatest advantage as therapists is not a degree or specialization but the fact that we’re all “card carrying members of the human race”. I couldn't agree more, thus this practice is all about being real, being vulnerable and removing the stigma of mental struggle. Because we all struggle at times, we’re all impacted by sadness, pandemics, grief, loss and relationships. As humans, we’re so much more alike than we realize regardless of age, gender, income, level of success, family history or any other differentiator you can think of.
When my team and I share about our lives, I like to think that people can see themselves in our stories. Struggle does not discriminate; we all go through it at times.
Sharing so openly is something I feel judged by others, at times, as we are trained within a system that doesn’t really support this. Our educational model doesn’t always allow for a “humanistic” approach and in my opinion, we sometimes pathologize the “human experience”.
Vulnerability can be hard for you, but it’s also hard for myself and my team. I think this is because as humans, we all want to be liked, and the more people we share things with, the more anxious we feel about revealing these messy parts.
But I know I am not alone, and the more we share with one another the less shame we’ll feel and the more connection we’ll experience. We each have the power within us to remove the stigma of mental health struggles and lean on one another. Reach out today. ~ Laura
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