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What's yours and how do you know?

One of the most important lessons I have learned as a clinician is that I do not have control over a client’s setbacks or relapses.  It is hard sometimes not to question my own effectiveness or experience feelings of guilt when a client has a difficult time.  Learning that I am not that important or powerful is probably work I will keep relearning throughout my lifespan.  That doesn’t mean I don’t carry responsibility as a clinician.  I hold responsibility to be present and facilitate healing for each client I serve with all of the therapeutic tools I have within my reach.  If I need a day because I can’t be present or I’m distracted, it is my responsibility to own that and be present with my own stuff.    Balancing my own stuff and my own shortcomings while also acknowledging the limitations of my reach is tough internal work.  It requires focus on my own internal system, awareness of my own body responses, and focus externally on my intuition and others’ energy, body language, and communication. 

My therapy room mimics the interactions we all have every day.  Consider the interactions you had today in the Starbucks line, with your student, with your spouse, or your child.  What did you carry with you when you placed your order or when you gave a directive?  What did the other person carry with them?  What do you need to own as your own stuff and what do you need to bounce back that’s not yours?  It is easy to get in a cycle of guilt and self-blame and carry things that aren’t truly ours.  We all have that inner critic in us that lets us know when we don’t meet expectations or don’t do things our best.  I hope we all learn to equally harness the part of ourselves that sees the limitations of others and can see when what was said or done wasn’t really for or about us at all. 

Peace and love wherever you are on your journey.