How Your Therapist Gets Through Her Day Without Taking on All Your Struggles
The art of clearing out the last patient and making space for the next. With love.
- •Yes your stuff affects us. We love you and we love working with you, but we can't hold onto it all and still be effectiveI do a kind of mental house cleaning while still staying connected and holding onto that which has come before. It's a tricky little maneuver but it works for me
- •I have 10 minutes between patients. I'm pretty much a hardliner when it comes to the clock. My patients know I will wrap things up when there's a few minutes left and they can count on me to be responsible for that. I need my 10 minutes in between patients for the obvious: pee and tea. And then something specialAfter I make my tea and hit the head I quickly check my email, my apps, and my messages. This usually leaves me about five minutes to collect myself
- •I sit and I think of the last person who left with love and affection. I try to visualize what they need for the week ahead and hold them in my minds eye. They may be out the door, but they require more from me. This is a gift to them but also a gift to me and helps me let go of them with love and affection and clear a space for the next.
- •When that's done I try and take about 10 clearing breaths
- •Then I visualize the person coming in. I think about what we talked about the previous week, what their challenges were, how they have been feeling, and I just make a space for all of that.
- •Another 10 breaths to create a new space where anything new can come in.
- •Finally as I walk to the door I visualize a kind of empathy channel opening from me to them. Very woo woo new agey, I know. It's just what I do.
- •The space is now rejuvenated and cleared and is there just for that one. The one who is with me now
- •I've been doing therapy a long long time now. This little ritual helps me stay renewed and psychically available.The older I get, the more I need that
- •Love, DocP
- •Updating to say that this is become a bigger challenge for me personally since the election of Trump. My patients' struggles now routinely include pain, fear, helplessness, and hopelessness. What this has meant for me, and other therapists, is that work is no refuge from the reality of post election life. We don't get a break.