Friday, December 17, 2010

Mom and Therapist

When I was completing my Masters in Counseling, we were required to take a class on Parenting. I was fine with this, as I have wanted to work with parents as a counselor for a while, but I wondered if everyone felt the same way. I wondered if this was going to be as helpful for someone who had a vision for working with a different population. As I have continued to practice as a counselor, I continue to see just how beneficial understanding parenting really is to the practice of counseling.

I see my role as a parent as coming alongside my children to help them become the adults they are meant to be. My role is pretty much the same thing as a therapist, except I am working with adults. As a therapist, I come alongside my clients as they work through whatever brought them into counseling and help them to become the extraordinary people they are meant to be. My job is not to do all the work for the client but rather to work with them so that they can figure things out. I provide them with acceptance and a safe place to process through life. I challenge them when appropriate to think, and sometimes act, outside the box. I help them move in the direction of their goals. Just as I look forward to the day when my children leave the home, prepared to deal with whatever life throws their way, I rejoice when a client has worked through their issues to the point of no longer needing my services. I know that, if I am doing my job right, the client won't need me forever, just as my children shouldn't need to live at home forever. I rejoice with the client at their achievements, proud that they have accomplished so much and wish them well on the journey. I remind them that I will continue to be a safe place if they ever need more counseling at another stage in life, just as I will always be a safe place for my children even once they have left the nest.

I certainly see my clients in a different light than I see my children, and have different expectations of them both. I don't see my adult clients as children or patronize or condescend to them, but then again, I don't do that to my own children, so why would I? Just as I believe in raising responsible adults as a parent, I believe in treating my clients as responsible adults. So while there are certainly differences between my adult clients and my own children, my role isn't as vastly different. I guess that is why I find it so easy to transition between the two roles.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Passion Meets Mundane

One "weakness" of passionate people is a struggle with the mundane. The things we are passionate about, we pursue with fervor while often the details get brushed over or missed altogether. For instance, as a passionate mother, I can spend hours pouring into my children playing with and teaching them, snuggling and talking with them. However, the mundane chores that come with children, like the never-ending pile of laundry, are so much easier to ignore or hope my husband takes care of them.

The other day my 11 year old asked me if a particular rich and famous person had an assistant. I told her he probably had several. Some days I wish I had an assistant. Someone I could pass off all the tasks I really don't want to do. This assistant could do my laundry (my least favorite chore), go through my email inbox to help me find the ones that actually required reply amongst the junk, make appointments for me, help with marketing for the counseling business, remind me of phone calls I need to make, etc, etc. I am sure I could give this person a full time job, if only they were willing to work for free. But alas, these are my responsibilities and I must find a way to balance the things I really want to do with the things that seem more mundane to me.

This is my current challenge. I hope that I do a good enough job teaching my kids to balance their passions with the more mundane requirements of life so they don't end up trying to learn this process in their 30s.