As a therapist, there’s sometimes a difficult area of how much self-disclosure I might bring into the therapy space with a client.

But that concept of congruence has many facets to it.

Many students will respond that they will always work totally focussed on their client and absolutely nothing of their own process will come into the room.

And I applaud that idealism.

But, the reality of it is that we are all human beings, even therapists.  And life happens to us as much as our clients.

Upholding an ideal is great.  But we also do need at times to bring ourselves into the room and recognise that is part of the process.

One day last week, I woke up early, fed the cat, let him out, made myself a coffee and took it back to bed.  I fell back to sleep.  When I next woke up, my head, of course, felt awful.

I went out to find a blue light ambulance arriving for a neighbour.
Another neighbour texted me for help with their boiler pressure.
The lift in the flats was out of order (the boiler was on the top floor).
Another neighbour reversed out round the ambulance straight into another car.
The maintenance team were working on the residential site gates but the ambulance couldn’t get off site for 10mins while the gates were jammed......

When I eventually got back into my house, I just sat back and made a coffee.

What would I have said or done, if a short while after these experiences I had a session with a client?

I would certainly want to be conscious of this in the session somehow and be aware of whether my client was relating in any way differently from usual, or the process of the session seemed more difficult or significantly different for them or me.

I would probably ask my client how s/he felt the session was going for them.

Or mention that I sensed it somehow felt difficult or different for them today and ask whether anything had happened for them since last session that they need to talk about.

And I would probably also check if the client felt anything was different for them from me today.

The client doesn’t want or need a list of my experiences in their session (the list above is included for the purposes of this blog only!).  But my client is worthy of the respect and acknowledgment that my process or stressors might impact the session as much as theirs.

If I am to be congruent and real, I feel I owe a client that.  And I feel a client has the right to expect that from their therapist.

It’s about being aware.  Being present.  Being myself.

What would you do?