This is my first entry for my new blog. At the moment this blog is in an unknown little corner of the web but someday it will be attached to my website so I need to think carefully about what I say.
I kept an online journal before but it was anonymous so there was no need to worry about what I said. This time every word I say will be connected to my name, my profession, and my contact details.
I am a fully qualified, registered, practising psychologist and one of the things they drum into us during our training is ethics. Ethics require me to be very careful of what I say to anyone who knows I am a psychologist.
This is because some people take more notice of what professional people say. If I say: “you’re nuts” to someone who doesn’t know I’m a psychologist they will treat that opinion the same as they would if it came from anyone else. If I say the same words to someone who knows I am a psychologist there is a risk they will believe it is a professional assessment of their mental health.
As a professional person I am obliged to consider the potential harm of what I do and say at all times. I must conduct myself in a way that does not put anyone else at risk and will not shame or discredit my profession.
I take those obligations very seriously.
On the other hand I am also a person just like everyone else. I have lived for quite some time now and faced my own battles with many of the things life can throw at us.
I grew up in a somewhat dysfunctional family, was molested as a child, raped as a teenager, ran away from home and lived on the streets for a time. At 19 I became a single mother and I have been married and divorced. I lost one of my sisters to death and a stepson to suicide. I have owned my own home and lost it because I couldn’t afford the mortgage. I started my own business but lost that too when five youths attacked me, stole my car and left me with a bad case of post traumatic stress disorder. I raised two children who are now adults and I have gone through many of the things a lot of people face on their journey through life.
I have been suicidal, suffered depression and endured poor self-esteem. I have battled with grief, anger, weight problems, body image problems and gambling. I have gone through trauma and post traumatic stress disorder. I have lived with problems caused by my ignorance, been enlightened by an education and I have survived it all.
I hate politicians. I love God. I have been in love and I have been hurt by love just like anyone else. I am a psychologist but I am also just one more person doing my best to make it through life.
When I was training to become a psychologist they drummed one thing into us over and over and over again. Therapy is about the client. The life and the experiences of the therapist have no place in the therapeutic relationship because there is a risk the focus will shift from the client to the therapist.
This has been the single, most frustrating, thing I have faced as a therapist. So often a client will say to me: “You don’t understand” and I want to tell them I do understand because I went through the same thing but I am not allowed to say it. I must make encouraging noises and get them to try and explain how it feels.
Deep in my heart I am convinced people with problems need to know they are not alone. They need to hear that even the people they turn to for help are not immune to problems. Over and over and over again I have heard clients say: “You must think I am crazy” or “There’s something wrong with me isn’t there?” Time and time again the answer is: “No, you are not crazy and there is nothing wrong with you. You are having a normal reaction to an abnormal problem! You are having exactly the same reaction I had when I went through the same problem.”
I can’t say that last sentence to my clients in real life. I am not paid to talk about MY life. My employers want me to obey the rules of good therapy and keep my personal life private. They have every right to demand that of me so I obey the rules.
In this blog I can say those things. I can open my life up to people and share who I am and what I have learned. As a psychologist part of my job is to try and see how the world looks from my client’s perspective. In this blog I will share with my readers how the world looks from mine. Feedback is always welcome so welcome to my world.
This is your first glimpse into how the world looks through the eyes of this particular psychologist — nothing is simple — not even writing a blog hehehe.