“Wisest is he who knows he knows not.”
I originally intended on writing this on New Years Eve as that would have marked 6 months of having practiced as a therapist though now, I am past a year into my practice. I wanted to write about the experience of becoming a therapist and the things that helped me in hopes that it may be helpful to others, even if applied to other aspects of life. But also, I hope to use this writing in a somewhat selfish way also to help me process what I have learned in this time.
I have learned or more accepted that I know nothing. Not in a way that I am incompetent, or I am not qualified, but in the context of listening and helping others with their life that I know nothing about from the start. I find comfort in this acceptance as it takes pressure off many aspects of not only work, but life. I also find that this mentality better captures what it means to be a therapist for me. Often when we seek help with our lives, we want some magical advice. My question to you is, If I told you, would you listen? Would you be able to apply it to other parts of your life down the road? Would it change anything? Chances are you can find people to give you advice on your problems and it may be helpful to you, but, you have only learned what others have done, not the thought process behind their solution. If you know nothing, you have to start from the beginning, and you have understand how you will make progress, and most importantly you have to take ownership of this process.
This idea is also applied to how I approach clients. I know nothing until you tell me and in turn tell yourself. I could make assumptions about everyone off how they dress and all these other factors. These assumptions though would be filled with my biases and those are not helpful or true and I am aware of this. To ignore bias, I must start from nothing and build my conceptualization of a person and their problem to match that person’s own conceptualization. This is called, meeting someone where they are at. If you wish to help, you must understand what the perceived problem is of the person you are helping in a non-judgmental and open way.
Consider a situation of three mechanics working on a car. All three of the mechanics believe the problem is from different parts of the car, one the wheel, one the transmission, one the brakes. Will these mechanics listen to each other if they all believe the others to have invalid thoughts about the problem? Probably not. Therapy is part working on the conceptualization of world views, I must know what the world looks like to my clients and align myself with this world.
These are the main ideas that have helped me over my first year of practice. Though they are somewhat abstract, they are ways of thinking that I believe can help others no matter the position or walk of life they find them self in. I hope to update this writing in another few months.
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