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Things I have learned being a therapist


I always, and will forever, stand by this motto: if there is not a connection, it is hard to make progress. If there is a connection, we are well on our way! I firmly believe this. Think about it. If you meet someone new, you're either thinking "wow, how awesome is he/she?" Or you may be thinking "yep, not for me!" This is the same in therapy. Connections are organic. They just happen naturally. I am not everyone's "person," and that is okay with me. If a client does not connect with me and is in need of another therapist, I do not take it personal, because connections are a part of life. I always, ALWAYS, want what is best for my clients.

2. The stigma on therapists:

We are held to a standard, which I am completely fine with, however, we all do not walk a straight line, live the perfect life or make the perfect decisions. There are many therapists that have been through some extreme hardships. I always feel that the best therapists are the ones who have been through what you are going through or what you have been through. Therapists are imperfect human beings who still make mistakes just like you.

3. Conflict between professional and personal:

Oh boy! This one! I am a professional therapist, but I am a human first. My professional side uses evidence-based therapy to help my clients (this means that I use credible and proven therapeutic techniques to help my clients). My personal side is someone who is extremely down to earth. I love to laugh and I love witty humor. Throughout my educational journey, this conflict was always in my head; THE CONFLICT. "This iz me!" I am someone who is very easy to talk to, very easy to relate to, and very empathetic with my clients. A little humor along the way, too. I feel it is a win win. If I am not being myself, how helpful is the therapy process going to be? People can always tell when you are not genuine and authentic.

4. Empathy:

It cannot be taught by a book. It just IS. You have it or you don't. I have an enormous amount of empathy for my clients, and that is one of my best qualities, aside from my humor. There is a huge difference in sympathy and empathy. Sympathy is feeling sorry for you. Empathy is understanding you, taking the time to listen to you from your perspective.

5. Fixing people:

I cannot fix people. I supply the tools and empower people to want the change and apply the change. My clients are the experts in their lives, I am not. I am the expert in the tools that I provide. Think about that best friend you have/had. You know that the spouse is no good for him or her. YOU. JUST. KNOW. You continuously tell them they need to leave. Do they leave because you said so? NO! The same with therapy. I do not tell my clients what I think they should do. This is not what therapy is about. I am someone who supports, empowers, listens, and supplies tools to utilize the change that is wanted.

Therapy is lifelong learning; I am still learning...

Jennifer Kelley, LLMSW

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