We need to be liked.  To feel included.  To be accepted and acknowledged.

In response to the question “And what do you do?” (#frequently asked questions at parties!), “psychotherapist” or “counsellor” is certainly up there with “doctor” in answers you might not always want to own up to in anticipation of the usual sort of responses.....”can I just ask you about.....?” or “ you aren’t going to analyse me are you?” or variations on a theme....

So choosing a career that puts you in the limelight or at least in the firing range of awkward questions and unwanted moments is a big choice.

The problem is that if our need to be liked, accepted, included and acknowledged is fully based on external recognition, it impacts hugely and significantly on our clinical work.

What happens when a client leaves without warning, or decides they want to work with someone else.........or fails to achieve their goals?  Or even seems to get worse............rather than better?

So – time to reflect on how much I accept myself.  How much I like myself.  How much I acknowledge and include myself in life.

And if we don’t, and let’s face it we’re only human even as therapists, it can be difficult at times, then how are we going to accept, acknowledge, include, like and respect our clients.

I know that’s tough talk and big issues at this time of year when we are all trying to get back into routine, but it’s an essential part of the process and work of being a therapist.

My most recent admission to my career to a new neighbour was met with “Oh....” and a screwed-up face from them, along with a deep sinking feeling in my heart – again – before I managed to “pull myself together” and describe my enjoyment and thrill at working with clients and students in issues of relationship and communication.

That opened up the conversation much more, and their curiosity, and hopefully their trust.

The “come dine with me” local community events here in the coming months will offer even more opportunities and challenges for me to like, include, accept, acknowledge and respect  both myself and my neighbours.

What about you?  What do you do?