Are you laughing? I hope so. This could be my favorite cartoon ever.
I don't talk much about my work as a psychotherapist. The background is that I've always wanted to achieve these two things in my work life: one, successfully running workshops without so much anxiety, and two, being a psychotherapist.
I am now a psychotherapist even though I don't think I really qualified for the job. But I work in a small mental health agency that serves "culturally diverse" and often very poor clients, many of whom who have had some very serious trauma or neglect or marginalization or abandonment at some point in their lives. I do this after a career in the private sector, often earning four times what I do now. I can do this because I'm at the tail end of working.
I like the job a lot. I may not continue past next summer and while it is my choice, that also makes me sad. Lately I see half my clients at the clinic and half in their homes. I've been doing this for four years and I'm not sure but I think I may be a very good therapist, even if I lack the normal training and background.
For this post I wrote out a little background on each of my clients. But I've had wise second thoughts because of confidentiality. So I've deleted all that. Instead I will just tell you this:
age 6, Hispanic, little boy
age 20 Portuguese, young woman
age 48, white, female
age 50, white, male
age 45, black, female.
age 34, black, single mother
age 40, white, female
age 45, black, male
age 45, white, female
age 13 black, male
age 16, Hispanic, female
age 37, Hispanic, female
age 29, black, male
age 32, Hispanic, female
age 19, Hispanic, female
I wonder if this information tells you how privileged I am to have such diversity in my life, how much I have learned about poverty and resilience and children and teens and families and culture and trauma and strengths and needs and listening and helping. Would you rather be pushed or understood? I sometimes ask my clients this question. They are often startled for a quick moment, but they get it. Their answer helps me know how to help.
I don't know if there is a point to this post. Other than one day I will not do this work anymore but what I have learned rests in my heart and head for my lifetime.
And you, my friends: would you rather be pushed or understood?