The more I work with clients, the more I reflect on how much of myself should be in the room.
Authenticity and being present are necessities, but as a therapist you are taught that your “stuff” should be recognised and put aside in order to work. When working with art and symbolism this all gets harder, because if you don’t understand the psychological symbol you’re bringing, you might not be able to respond to what comes out. Therefore I’ve learnt in order to be the best therapist I can, I need to have understood what I’m taking to a client and why.
Conviction and belief in the aims and rational are important. Yet I realise, for myself, it is more important to have conviction in my ability and my choice of material/symbol. Through training, I’ve learnt to listen to the needs of the client and then bring “myself” – the symbols, techniques, ideas, etc. that sit best with me – in order to be relaxed and responsive to the client.
I’ve learnt not to be afraid of using what has shaped me, but to bring it into the room as a therapist – because that in itself is what allows me to behave therapeutically and develop on this journey.