Although I kind of knew it already I am a bit surprised at the amount of thinking that clients sometimes do about their therapist’s and their therapy. There are sometimes endless blog posts on this topic which I read with interest. There seems to be much less written by therapists about specific clients so one could say that this is another example of how the relationship is not an equal one. It seems safe to say that generally speaking therapists are more emotionally important to clients than clients are to therapists.
I am reminded of an event that happened many years ago early in my working life that I have never forgotten. I was running a therapy group that had about 10 participants. The usual few hours one morning of the week that would go for about 6 weeks in a row. On about the third week just before the group was to start we were all sitting there and then was an exchange between a number of the group members that did not involve me. I was just sitting there listening to it.
The door of the room had the usual door knob that one would turn to open the door. I had also placed a small barrel bolt higher up the door which I also latched each time we shut the door for the group to start. The group members had about a 5 minute discussion about this barrel bolt and how I latched it before each session. Some were saying that it was there to provide a sense of safety and others said it was done for the boundary of the group and to build a sense of trust and so forth.
I said nothing and just sat there listening. Eventually it was time for the group to start, their discussion concluded and we began. The door knob latch on the door was a bit faulty. Occasionally it would just pop open and the door would swing open a few inches and I would have to get up and close it again. I had put the barrel bolt on the door to stop that from happening which is the reason why it was there.
I hate saying this but I have to because it’s true. Being a therapist at least in part is a job to earn money to live. I don’t like saying it because I have never wanted a client of mine to become just a case number and I have always worked at trying to achieve that. I think I have been successful to some degree at least.
Depending if one works in a hospital or in a private practice a therapist may see 30 clients a week. For each individual client the therapist sees another 29 each week. For each client there is a client before you and a client after you. Sometimes there are long blog posts I read about what a therapist did or said. Much conjecture and thought over what he/she meant by a certain comment, their motives for doing something and so forth. I would imagine that some of the time, the therapist hasn’t even thought about it. Like my barrel bolt on the door. It didn’t mean anything and was turned into a significant psychological undertaking by me.