The Alternate Womb: A Therapy That Holds and Heals

inner child

“The relationship you build with a client surpasses any therapeutic intervention.”

A close friend and colleague told me that once in a time of self-doubt. I think as therapists, at times we question our ability and our techniques. We are working with humans and sometimes the faith we might put into the work doesn’t seem to have the results that we want. This leads to questions of ” Am I doing this right? , Why am I doing this? School didn’t teach me this. What am I supposed to do with this human?”

We have, as clinicians, a lot of access to books, blogs like this, other therapists and YouTube videos. But ultimately what matters is the relationship and rapport you have with a client.

Therapy, the work we do, happens mostly outside the doors of the office with a couch. During the sessions however, alot of processing and opening up occurs. If the environment is judgmental, cold, authoritative, and sterile, it’ll be difficult to allow the space for trust and safety. Now, I’m not saying don’t use your worksheets, books, or research articles but if you take the time to focus on the relationship, then and only then, can the process of therapy or healing can begin.

Again, this is an opinion but in times of doubt focus on your ability to communicate, to reciprocate the client’s feelings.  Empathy goes a longer way than sympathy and even if you  can’t relate to a client’s cultural or ethinic background, find a common ground.  Therapy , shouldn’t always be about the “bad stuff.” Spend a session talking about the client’s passions or lack of passion.  You may find yourself more engaged.

Lastly, imagine you go somewhere to talk to someone about your own skeletons. You walk into an office terrified that you will be judged on your morals. The therapist has a suit and tie, is pompous, tells you that you are wrong and in order to begin talking about the passing of your loved one you HAVE to fill out 5 worksheets with numbers, sad faces, and intrusive questions.

This might work. But, now imagine your first session as welcoming, embracing, without arrogance.  The therapist’s chair is low to the ground, you’re told you are free to talk about whatever you want and start wherever you want. There is no judgment.

No matter the techniques, the relationship between a therapist and their client, as I have learned, is more important to begin the process of healing.

Noah Goldberg, RCSWI, MSW

5 thoughts on “The Alternate Womb: A Therapy That Holds and Heals

  1. Hey 🙂 you have a typo on the second paragraph after the quote (it should say clinicians). I hope you don’t mind that I say this.
    What you talked about is what I like about my therapist. She is warm and non-judgmental. I have told her my darkest secrets and she treats me in the same way. That is very helpful to me, as I have been judged countless times in my life (like everyone else, I suppose). She is validates my thoughts and feelings, which is so important and therapeutic.
    I really enjoyed reading this. Thank you for sharing.

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  2. I feel therapy is a two way process. I have had many therapist that were ineffective and I often felt that they were being condescending and judgmental. I have had a handful of really good therapist over the past 3 decades and those that were most effective were engaged and listening, not on autopilot. I would dare say if it is a good therapist, they will learn just as much about their life in helping others as those receiving help. There should be no hierarchy in the end, just one individual helping another.

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    1. Landundefined, I agree with your idea of there being an even playing field when it comes to therapy. The relationship is based on helping and that shouldn’t entail any power struggle or snobbiness on the end of the therapist. A good therapist will always acknowledge his/her limitations and is constantly engaging in self reflection and working on his or her short-comings. While some may disagree, I also believe that counseling is a two way street (the helper receives a benefit of the helping being offered to the patient) but we need to be careful because even this can open up the door to losing objectivity in the counseling process and can become self serving. It’s always good to be honest and daring in therapy and let the therapist know how you feel. Expressing that you feel judged or ignored can open up the door to great insights and changes during therapy.

      Liked by 1 person

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