11 Confessions Your Therapist Should Admit to You but Probably Won't

Thursday, September 08, 2016 @ 9:56 PM

Many clients come into my office thinking I am the expert. While this might puff my head up a bit, it’s simply not true. Yes, I’ve got a degree in counseling. Yes, I’ve worked with struggling clients for years, but I’ve got my own quirks and quibbles. The counseling and life coaching profession might want to give you the impression that we’ve got our act together. We’ve got our own junk and here is some of mine (and probably most therapists):

1. My marriage is messy.

Clients strangely think I have a perfect marriage. Ha! My husband and I love each other dearly but we do fight. I’m learning to be honest and calm when the relationship gets sticky. I pick up books, pour over podcasts, and ascertain the advice from friends and family to know what I should do with my own life. If any other therapist, counselor, or life coach doesn’t have some level of struggle in their close relationships, I’d run for the hills because they’ll give you pat answers that lack raw reality or relevancy.

2. I flounder in my friendships.

This is pretty much a ditto of above, but I’m discovering again and again where I let others push my boundaries or where I put up walls that no one can penetrate, leaving us both lonely and disconnected. I love author and licensed social worker Brené Brown’s words of, “I am not as sweet as I used to be but I’m far more loving.”

3. I don’t always have the right answers.

This one should be obvious to you if it’s not already. Yes, I love what I do as a counselor and life coach and I believe I’m good at it, but I’m by no means an expert on you or on mental health and life coaching. I want to be a woman who pursues the right and effective answers but also admits when the answers are not there. My goal as a therapist is not to wow you with my knowledge, but to listen you, understand your story, and draw out from you what you know the answers to be, but where you may need a guide to help make them happen.

4. I learn from you.

I cannot begin tell you the amount of truths my clients have taught me over the years. You all are so brave and courageous. Most of my clients feel weak for coming to therapy or to see a personal development life coach. No way! You have the guts and the hutzpah to say, “I need some insight that I don’t have right now. I am being proactive with my growth. I don’t want to be stuck any longer.” That’s strength my friend! My clients shape parts of who I am, what I think about my spiritual faith, the human spirit, and the risks you take to make your relationships thrive. I would be less of who I am today without what my clients have taught me.

5. I get anxious too.

Many of my clients come in with some level of anxiety and fear. While I don’t know exactly what it’s like to walk in their shoes, I can identify with parts of their anxiety, how their brain speeds up, and life feels overwhelming. My level of anxiety symptoms might not be to the severity of what my clients are struggling with, but they are not alone. I’m learning to pause and remain calm while life is telling me to get anxious.

6. I feel depressed sometimes.

Just like anxiety, it’s rare to meet someone who have never been depressed or had a time or two of feeling depressed. Life can be dang hard sometimes. Brokenness is pervasive while we are on this earth. I don’t dare compare my times of feeling depressed with those who have clinical depression. I’ve often wondered if someone has never felt depressed, how effective are they with engaging the hurting in our world? Even in the faith tradition of Christianity, depression is not foreign. Look at the book of Psalms in the Bible. That book has some seriously depressing expressions of a man’s heart and it’s considered Scripture. Thank goodness.

7. I say rude things.

Ask my husband, and he’ll attest :-). Hopefully I am quick to realize and apologize for my malice mouth, but unloving things do come out of it more often than I would hope. Can you relate?

8. I procrastinate.

A number of my counseling, mentoring, and coaching clients wrestle with this also, which makes me feel human. As the years go by I’m learning strategies that help me to gain understanding as to why I’m procrastinating. This is not a quick fix, but these life coaching tips and insights have allowed me delay less and tell myself, “This is what I’m going to do,” and actually do it. Go figure!

9. I get fearful.

I’m wondering if you would agree that even though anger and hate have been around since the world began, in America we are reading about or personally experiencing it on a day-to-day basis. While the world may be just as broken as it always has been, we are becoming more and more fearful. I fight against this fear on a daily basis with a call to be wise and prudent, but not let fear dictate my world so that I let fear win.

10. I want to be in control.

Control feels comforting for a while. We have the appearance of order. But I’ve discovered over the last ten or so years that what we try to control soon controls us. Most people would see me as laid back and I am. But as I learn more about myself, I’m seeing how much of life I try to control. It doesn’t work so well, does it? Maybe you can identify. Yes, we are to be self-controlled, but it gets whacky when we try to control others or the world around us.

11. I’m insecure too.

So many of us are people-pleasers. We care what others think about us and how we come across. Some of this is wise as it makes us considerate and caring. But when it goes awry as it does in my life, it leads to comparison with others, not holding to my values and convictions, and letting go of who I am and how I’m designed to bless others. What more could we do with our lives if we were not so insecure?

So that’s a long but not exhaustive list. My goal is not to air my dirty laundry, but to say that we are all on a journey to be more of who we were made to be. And that’s a messy journey at times. I’m not a counselor or life coach who has it all together. If you find one, let me know. I simply desired to take the any stigma out of the professional counseling world that would give you any impression that we are not just like you.