Your Client Is The Guide But So Are You
It actually makes me uncomfortable when a therapist says, “You set the pace!” or “How deep we go in sessions is up to you!” or like, “You’ll take the lead!”
I understand why therapists say this. We have a nervous system that is wired to protect us when things feel unsafe and coming up against those limits happens. So we literally are the “guide” in the sense of like, our system will lead us, it will set the pace, it will only go so deep.
(And it’s a therapist’s job to see this happening and help meet us in that place – figuring out what’s possible for where we are right now in our healing. But therapists don’t determine the pace or depth. They can’t of course).
So like, I know, in my brain, that “I’m the guide” in the sense of like: that’s biology.
I’m not confident in that.
I don’t really feel comforted when a therapist says that “it’s up to you!”
It actually feels like a lot of responsibility to be the guide. Or like I’ll be in session with you but alone. Like am I the one that needs to lead the way even though I feel lost?
Navigating feels scary and dark and like something I don’t have experience in. If feels like completely unknown terrain.
What I really want is help.
So instead of “we’ll go where you want to go” how about something like, “we’ll figure it out together”? Or “I’ll be there with you on your journey”?
There has to be some middle ground where we honor my limits, keep me comfortable and safe, AND you’re in my stuff WITH me helping me find my way.
Just a 5 minute thought between consultation calls.