One of the most helpful things I encountered in one of those therapist tales type books I read (it may have been the mummy at the dining room table) was this.
The therapist shared their disappointment that the non-judgemental acceptance and empathy they could feel for their clients was much harder to apply in their social communities outside of therapy.
I personally find this the hardest with people in my life who are very rigid in their views or unreasonable and are not interested in the feelings or needs of others.
At the time it was so helpful to read that one of the master therapists couldn’t always manage to extend an empathic and non-judgemental perspective. Like a moment of “Oh. I don’t have to be a perfect person to be a good therapist”
Therapists like clients, have their strong points and their weak points. We have buttons that can get pushed to.
One way of claiming your authenticity is not trying to be a saint. This is just another way unrelenting standards can show up.
I am honest with my clients that I sometimes experience difficulties having empathy for people in my life or to have patience with my children all the time or to listen to my partner with interest 100% of the time.
I don’t think its helpful for clients to believe I am perfect or have no struggles. Many of our clients feel shame or believe that they have poor control or unreasonable feelings. It can be helpful to know that therapists are not perfect either.
It is another way of claiming your authenticity and not letting your unrelenting standards run the show.
I thought I’d share as I’m sure I’m not the only one who needs a reminder of this every now and then.