On Being 'One of Many'


Many people I have come across, both in “real life” and on the internet, have expressed the feeling that they are merely one of many in their therapist’s eyes. I can wholeheartedly understand feeling this way, including the sense of disappointment and belittling of some of the relationship and significance. But my clients are not one of many.


I cannot speak for all therapists, as I am sure too many do view clients as paychecks. Thankfully I find they are the small minority of therapists. I also expect they easy to spot on the client's side.


I chose my job because I am excited about people. It is a thrill to see someone improve. To help you understand in a way that might allow this to be more believable, lets use an analogy. I'm sure many clients have been told by their therapists over and over that they matter, but the reality is that if you are in therapy, it's probably already particularly hard to trust this reassurance.


So, instead, let's look at therapists as artists. Each client’s therapy is their own painting, or perhaps series of paintings. An artist doesn't stop being invested in their efforts because now they are getting paid. They still love the act of painting. They don't look at their newest piece and think, “I've already painted so many that this one doesn't matter.” Each painting is an opportunity, an experience, a beautiful, purposeful creation.


Therapy is exactly like art. It is the balance between skill and heart. We paint your story and tweak what needs fixing. We create and recreate. We invest time and energy, thought and feeling.


When therapy is finished, you walk away with your own version of the painting that is created, continuing to add more canvases or expand this one. My version of the painting goes on a mental wall, hanging in a gallery of all the clients I have cared for.

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