My answer can vary depending on what I’m in touch with from one day to another.
This is today.
I get joy out of seeing the glimmer of realisation in a client’s eyes when an outlier in their inner world suddenly finds themselves understood, and part of the whole, included and birthed into a new & meaningful existence.
I genuinely enjoy connecting with clients, and witnessing their dignity, courage and commitment to both themselves, and their work.
I love seeing a client’s path, previously congested with shame & fear now beginning to clear, and the sense of freedom and empowerment clients get from this.
It can be like walking a tightrope for therapists to say that they enjoy their work, or to even admit that they have feelings to clients.
This is the because of the well know psychoanalytic ‘blank screen’. Psychoanalysts believe it is useful to be as blank as possible (i.e. to reveal as little of oneself as possible) so that clients can project on to us. The basis of our work is then about analysing the roots of these projections. The well known cliche is for clients to project their mum and/or dad onto therapists, and for therapists to then use this so that clients can work out their issues with their parents. This can be really useful work, and like most cliches it can be correct. This scenario often happens.
However this way of working also has limits.
I also believe a genuine relationship, one in which therapists are impacted by clients, where therapists are relational and have feelings, is of real benefit to clients. This is especially important if clients are learning to be more at home in their feelings. They need a model for this new way of being, and this is what the therapist is in a position to offer.
I like to keep a foot in both camps.
I have chosen this field because it is fundamentally about making relationships with people- professional, and yet real & healing relationships for the client.
I have chosen to have a career that gives me meaning and purpose.
I have chosen to engage in the world of work in a way that touches and moves me. I don’t need my work to do that, or to provide relationships for me – I have my own life for that, but I like it that it does, and that it challenges, rewards & touches me.