A patient told me: “Yes we did all this work on my mother, my brother and my father and that was very important, but what really made the difference is that you were here with me as a person. That you told me how you felt with me, what you liked and at times didn’t like about being with me. That you warned me when I was wandering off and that you were honest with me.” This was the moment that I really understood. She invited me, needed me to be there as a person, not only as a therapist. She taught me, and I thank her for that.
Many clients need that we show ourselves as a person. But it feels shaky when we put ourselves in. We are on uncertain grounds, we don’t know what will be coming next. It feels to me like diving in the water, from that moment on you can’t control it anymore, you have to swim. “It feels to me as if we are in a struggle” ; “I notice that things somehow aren’t flowing between us today, and I saw that you fought back the tears twice. Maybe you don’t feel like going more vulnerable places. How’s your experience?” ; “I can really feel your sadness” ; “I feel your fear, it makes me afraid too.” ; “I really feel angry at you that you let her do that to you.”
When we dare to be present as a person defenses fall a way, safety and courage come in. When you dare to say what is really good and special in the way the client is with you, how it is uncomfortable at times, how the client is important to you, when you doubt your intervention, how you are happy, how you feel powerless sometimes, how feel you did the wrong thing, how you learn from the patient, when you feel close and when you feel distant. How you admire the patient, care for the patient. Then miracles start to happen.