It’s taken me a while to get this. But… Courage is more important than confidence for therapists.
What is courage as a therapist?
There is no doubt that to be a good therapist you have to be courageous.
Especially when you are:
Working with traumatized people.
It takes courage to be exposed know the bad things that happen to people and the bad things other humans do to each other than in other lines of work you are able to avoid or deny.
When using experiential techniques which require you to lead a client into stronger feelings and come into contact with things they are terrified of whether that is a bug or a terrible memory of abuse or a terrorizing parent they still can’t manage as an adult.
When clients can rattle our parts of self, and open up wounds and unresolved issues from our past.
When it means holding out hope for the work with one client, whilst recognising the cycle of trauma and abuse is often intergenerational and systemic and not a lot is being done to change the system.
When clients want certainty and answers from you, and there is no certainty.
When many of our peers have unrelenting standards and like to feel in control, which often leads to black and white criticism, firm stances on what is right and wrong, leading us frightened to be the one who is pegged as wrong or bad.
When we wonder if the therapy is taking too long. It takes courage to stay with the client and not handball them to quieten our critic.
It takes courage to discuss with a client when an approach you thought would help them, isn’t helping them, or maybe its making things harder for the client.
It takes courage to learn a new approach and try that with clients after many years of feeling comfortable with another therapy.
It takes courage to be a therapist and also be authentically yourself, not just a mirror of a therapy idol or rule bound version of a textbook therapist.
It can be hard to stay courageous in the face of all the above. It’s not impossible. It can wane at times.
Courage is a vital ingredient of what in schema therapy we would call the Healthy Adult therapist.
What part of your courage muscle needs building?
What stops you from being courageous?
What area would you like more courage in?