Today’s video entry will be a little different than my previous ones.
If you or someone you love is searching for a counselor, it’s very natural to want to know as much about the person as you can.
Today I want to share some of my history with you, where I started, and how I became a counselor in the first place.
Growing up, I always did well in school. From very early on. Maybe it came naturally to me – perhaps I was “gifted and talented.” Maybe I just wanted to make my teachers and my parents proud of me, so that I could feel loved.
Probably, it was a little bit of both: my intelligence gave me ability, and my longing to earn love served as tremendous motivation,
That combination led to a series of accolades that ran from elementary through to graduate school. Oddly, all those early college years unfolded in the field of engineering, As an engineer, I could do the work – very well – but I never had the feel for it I sensed other high-achieving engineers had.
When I changed course – and careers – and walked into the counseling profession, I instinctively knew what to do. I could feel it.
My clients called it psychic. Really, they were just referencing my talent in understanding what was happening to them internally, and feeding that back to them in a way that gave insight.
Sometimes, my clients unconsciously blocked me from depth work with them. But even in those cases, I could recognize the transference in what they were doing (how they were holding me at bay the way they held everybody at bay… the way they probably had to hold their parents at bay… probably too scared to let them in). And as I watched and respected their defenses, I also began to understand how to care for them in a way that touched their hearts, and soon their defenses would gradually melt away. And from there, the healing could happen.
For some of them, the healing just poured out of them. For others, it was scary to heal, because it meant confronting parts of their pasts that were overwhelming. In these times, I knew to allow it to flow slowly. I’d allow the security of our relationship to build, and then, one brave step at a time, I’d invite them to confront the fears – sometimes they stepped in, and others they stepped back – and I respected each decision as an important statement of what they were ready for.
Yes, learning Integrative Psychotherapy gave me a language in which I could articulate my natural understanding of counseling. Unlike engineering, where once I had language but never the feel, with counseling I had found a profession where I had a feel, and later a language to explain what I knew well before the words.