I enjoy the progression of the week and seeing what I have accomplished throughout the week. Every Friday I complete a weekly review ala David Allen’s GTD Weekly Review process. I’m always happy and sometimes a little surprised just how much I was able to accomplish throughout the week.
This Friday will feel a little different. I’m not, at least on a regular basis one of those individuals who dislikes Sunday because it leads into Monday. Who looks at Wednesday is “hump day” and Friday as kind of a free for all that is the unofficial start of the weekend.
This week was stressful in that there were several clients whose therapy issues I found to be
annoying challenging. They weren’t issues that I would normally find challenging but COVID has put a different spin on everyone’s life. It’s time for a vacation when some of my clients begin to sound like the adult in a Charlie Brown cartoon. For those of you reading this who don’t know who Charlie Brown is, shame on you. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ss2hULhXf04 All but one are clients who I had worked with continuously over the past 12-months. They are also clients who have for whatever reason or number of reasons struggle to consistently apply the therapeutic interventions that we have discussed and practiced in so many therapy sessions.
It is easy, and I think I speak for all therapists (and if you disagree you haven’t been on this career path for very long) to blame the client. After all they’re the one with the mental illness. They’re the ones who have come seeking help. It’s easy for me to say “Why don’t you want to do the work?” and to blame the client for their lack of progress. Sure much of the progress is dependent on the individual’s willingness to do the work but much is also up to the teacher to guide the student, to see when the student is struggling and to help the student assess why they are struggling, why they are not doing the work either at all or with the consistency that is necessary to make the changes they hope to see in their life.
It is important for the teacher to assess where they are in that process as well. All of us whether or not we wish to admit it struggle with mental health symptoms that if left unchecked can contribute to our own unhappiness and can cloud the work we are doing with our clients. Few of us ask ourselves the same questions we ask our clients and that we find ourselves frustrated believing the client doesn’t ask themselves.
It is important for all of us to look inward and to assess where we are and what we need. To seek the answers and to ask for help when necessary and to discuss our struggles when they arise.
The Stoics would inform us that it is the path, the progression on the path that is important, not perfection. Seneca said, “I am not such a hypocrite as to offer cures while I am sick myself. No, I am lying in the same ward, as it were, conversing with you about our common ailment and sharing remedies. So listen to me as if I were talking to myself: I am letting you into my private room and giving myself instructions while you are standing by.“