Do you want a therapist that shows you the way or one that helps you finding your own way from the inside out?
I have had a number of free introduction meeting this week where I explain how I work to different people, from different backgrounds and countries and I found myself reflecting on myself as therapist.
With a bit of a generalization you could say that the traditional role of the therapist is the one of guide: the wise person that dispense knowledge and advice so that the patient can improve, learn useful things and live better.
In the last past decennia there are a lot of discovery in the science of therapy and new views have emerged. There is more and more a focus on putting the client (not anymore patient) at the center of the process.
The role of the therapist is more and more a facilitation, by some also called Sherpa. The idea behind is that the therapist follows the clients in their needs and use his/her professional knowledge to find attunement with the client so that he/she can feel the developmental needs the clients is bringing in the process and move with that.
Previously it was more common for the therapist to offer a format with clear steps, where the clients had to buy into the therapy process already formed and comply receiving in return the promise of good results. This way of working offers structure and a strong the sense of control over the results that can be achieved. In a society that is trying to control all aspects of life this way of working is understandably enticing.
However, it has been proven over and over that the predictable results of this approach are mainly on the short term.
On the other side, the client centered approach has not a predictable structure and cannot guarantee exact result. I feel comfortable to assure there will be results, maybe not what one expected, maybe confronting and challenging, but there will be results.
A world of possibilities goes open when you open up for self exploration.
This approach is completely different in nature, more focused on the experience and the sensation of the clients. The aim is a the deep awareness of the client that enhances the freedom of choice and the flexibility.
You could say that the problem will be resolved, the experience leading to that may have a lot of surprises and unexpected wending.
This second way of working is more difficult to explain, may sounds vague and inconclusive. This second way may also be perceived as more risky for a prospective client.
So why choose the second way? Why being a Sherpa that has to attune to every client and never knows where it is going to end?
I choose this second way because:
- I choose to facilitate process of deep transformation and healing because that is the only way to really make a difference;
- I believe the goal is self-awareness that make the solution of every problem possible, not just the solution of the problems on a superficial level;
- I see as the biggest risk to go through life without knowing one self and therefore without being able to use all of the talents and resources one has.