Confidentiality is so foundational to good therapy that I, as your therapist, do not acknowledge if asked, if you indeed are my client. You, on the other hand, can choose to be silent, discreet or open about the fact that you have chosen therapy as one of your growth paths.
Because our therapy hour is dedicated to you and the issues that are primary on that particular day, you know very little about my inner life. You are the focus of our time together.
Yet, how I prepare for our session might be of interest to you. It tells you a great deal about me.
I pray for you. I pray for our session. Why? Because I believe in the transformative power of God’s love. I am not enough and you are not enough. I welcome a Higher Power into the growth process.
I review the notes from our previous sessions. I also review the goals that we have set together. These are your goals for your personal and relational growth.
I place myself in the growth process. I am open to being confronted. I place myself under the mentorship of wise clinicians who perhaps can help me to see my blind spots. I consult with other clinicians when I am not certain the wise path for your growth. I maintain your utmost confidentiality in those discussions and your name is never used. I keep up with and exceed all continuing education requirements set by the Board of Behavioral Science Examiners.
The love of people and the love of the growth process combined with my quest for learning led me to pursue counseling as my second career choice. I read books, magazines and journal articles. I research and write books and blogs. In fact if you are reading this article you are aware of the website that David and I created to encourage healthy, intelligent, growth producing marriages. It is changed six times a week so there is always something available to help you see your relationships through new eyes.
And then I wait with gratitude for you to arrive for your appointment. The truth is I respect you highly.
I respect your courage. I get to witness that courage. You havesaid, “This is my problem, regardless of whether I caused it or not.” You have dedicated yourself to growth. You are ready to face reality. You are willing to be challenged and confronted.
You don’t pretend that life doesn’t matter. You don’t expect to be rescued from the difficult, and you are on a search for truth. You are not sleepwalking through life. You acknowledge that you have the power to decide who you are going to be at any particular moment.
M. Scott Peck, M.D. talks of the courage that it takes to enter psychotherapy. These are his words,
No act is more unnatural, and hence more human, than the act of entering psychotherapy. For by this act we deliberately lay ourselves open to the deepest challenge from another human being, and even pay the other for the service of scrutiny and discernment…Entering psychotherapy is an act of the greatest courage…It is because they possess this courage, on the other hand, that many psychotherapy patients, even at the outset of therapy and contrary to their stereotypical image, are people who are much stronger and healthier than average.
The Road Less Travelled pg. 53 -54 (Simon & Schuster, 1978)
I respect your vulnerability. You are not afraid to face sorrow, suffering and problems and as a result you grow. Confronting and solving problems is a painful process yet it is where we find life’s meaning. You feel deeply. You are not afraid to examine the difficult. You don’t avoid problems and suffering. Like a tender blade of grass pushing through a crack in the cement you sit with me and as you share in the context of a caring relationship you expose more and more of yourself to the light. The result is that you grow.
I respect the beauty that I find deep in each of you. When I understand your story, your history, and your family, your choices make sense. I see your will to survive, your desire for love and your need to be emotionally, physically and psychologically safe. I see people who have chosen to rise out of the ashes and who are recreating a new life. I see the difference your growth is making in your present relationships. I value your truth, your thoughts, your feelings, wants and desires. I’ve been humbled by the honesty of your tears.
Together we discover a little more of what it means to be human.
I am in awe of the sacred work that I get to do. Together we learn, we heal and we thrive. I am so grateful that this is the work I get to do on planet earth.
Janet Congo MFT