Lately I’ve been thinking about this work, and what the therapist owes her/ his clients. Therapists often say that they don’t want to be doing all the work, (meaning that the client must apply him or herself) or nothing useful will really happen. Very true.
However, the therapist must also be working, and working hard, so that when the client leaves every session they take with them something new to ‘chew on’, a new awareness or an insight they didn’t have before. Perhaps they have gone through an emotional experience that has created a self-understanding. This is often more useful than then the intellectual putting together of a new concept. For example, crying teaches how significant something is (or was) in a deeper way than thinking about it.
The therapist needs to connect things that their client said in a previous session to what they are saying today, or show them things about themselves they hadn’t recognized. Good therapists pick up on things that other people wouldn’t notice. Then there is the timing and presenting of things, so that the client can take in what the therapist is saying. Skill, experience and intuition come in here. Therapists have to stay on top of their own reactions to things, so they know when something from their own life is influencing the way they feel and react to their client. Having different therapeutic approaches to the same issue is needed – the therapist needs to adopt to their client, not the other way around!
I guess I’m saying some people are more talented about this work than others — and don’t settle.