The holidays are over and I survived family, cookies and Santa Claus. My clients according to them did well and managed to “get through” their difficult times. It’s a New Year full of possibilities. I might possibly lose weight, I might possibly exercise more or I might stop eating dessert. Which reminds me of the birthday card I bought my mother that had a picture of a group of woman having fun and it read-“Let loose-remember all those women on the Titanic who passed up dessert.” I thought I would die with laughter. She really appreciated it.
My point is we all need to have a sense of humor with ourselves and with our clients. I am so happy when clients can laugh in therapy about things they did or said. I always say “I am glad you can laugh at that” or “it helps to have a sense of humor about your situation.” I like to laugh and I always make sure the client does not think I am laughing at them.
I have a great group of women friends who work in very similar fields to my own. We call ourselves The Bad Girls which is too hilarious because the oldest woman in the group is over seventy and the rest are in their fifties and sixties so there are not a lot of “bad” things that we do. What we do the majority of the time is eat and laugh. We all have “gallows or M.A.S.H. humor” as we call it. Sometimes you have to laugh at the really absurd stuff to make sense of it. I think that is what I can appreciate the most about these women. They are not afraid to laugh at themselves or the dumb things they have done-especially in the name of counseling. I always tell the story of a client who during my home visit asked me if I wanted a piece of his birthday cake. I said yes and when he brought the cake out to show me it was in the shape of two large breasts. What does anyone say to that???
I think what I appreciate most about my job is the people I meet and what they teach me-or show me. But most of all I appreciate the women I have in my life that I can share my good times with because we all know that counseling can provide us with enough hard times.
Julie North is an in home family counselor in a rural county in South-Central Michigan. She has a private practice and is currently being trained in TF-CBT and complex trauma therapies.