With apologies and acknowledgements to Bridget Jones and her Diary...

The problem when we are in training or newly qualified as therapists, is that we are often very focussed on “getting it right”.

Getting it right for our client.  Getting it right for our tutor.  Getting it right for our supervisor.  Getting it right in terms of adhering to our therapeutic approach.

And obviously with so much focus on getting it right, panic can anxiety can set in when we feel we somehow have got it wrong.

So I wonder where this notion of perfection comes from for any of us?

Who do we need to be perfect for?  For me it may have been at different times, my tutor, my supervisor, my mother.....

In terms of “getting it right” what do clients really want?

Well, I would suggest really that what most clients want is someone who will be real with them.

I have been a client with a number of different therapists over a long career working in psychotherapy, and some of those therapists have occasionally “got things wrong”.

The therapist who used the wrong name when he answered the door entry phone.

The therapist who hurredly suggested that my drawings of ghosts and ugly monsters be scooped up into a rubbish bag way, way before I was ready to do that.

The therapist who wore shorts, ankle socks and sandals to a therapy session (well – not exactly “wrong”, but perhaps less than appropriate).

And there have certainly been occasions when I, as a therapist, have forgotten names, elements of stories or offered comments that might have been less than appropriate in terms of timing or relevance.

The perfection of imperfection is surely about acknowledging that I can be real, and human, and I bring myself into the therapeutic relationship and process.

And when I find myself in those situations, the most important part of the process is what I do with it, and how I work with that in session with a client, and how it becomes part of the overall process of accepting myself, accepting the client, and enabling the client to accept him/herself as well.

Because it’s also about acknowledging that the client is real and human as well.  Neither of us is any more or less perfect than the other.

So who do you feel you need to be perfect for today?