As a young therapist -I mean young in experience, not young in age - I often heard other therapists talk about Thomas Moore. I first thought they meant Thomas More –the Catholic saint, lawyer, philosopher, statesman and arch enemy of Henry VII. Later, as I progressed through my own personal struggles and growth I encountered the Thomas Moore that presented me with another growth opportunity. His books Care of the Soul, and Dark Nights of the Soul were a gift to me at a most difficult time.
Have you had the experience when something crosses your path at exactly the moment you are ready to receive the message? When you are able to integrate the teaching and messages without disdain or disrespect? Where you eagerly read on and on because your head nodding propels you through the chapters? The words on those pages jumped into my heart – often I would leave the pages to wipe a tear or two, or to call a family member or friend – the words leading me to rejoice in a connection – or to lead me to the very place of feelings I wanted so badly to avoid…and of course the place I needed to be the most.
Last week I read a blog of Thomas Moore’s on Huffington Post titled “Everyone Should Be in Therapy”, and it resonated strongly within me. The last two blogs that I wrote; Shame, Guilt, and Embarrassment and Fear Walked In originated because of the strong emotional stirrings that I felt, first with my encounters with clients, and my own human and vulnerable reaction to interest in what I had to say. Each of those experiences triggered feelings in me, feelings that I needed to share and express. It is precisely in moments like those that the tiny little warning bells should go off in our heads. Warning – not to usher in doom or despair – but to remind us that another growth opportunity lies ahead. And what do we do about it?
What Thomas Moore says – and urges all of us to consider– is to embrace therapy as an opportunity toward continued growth. That therapy – with the right therapist leads us to the place we need to be, genuine in our own life, generous to others and as counselors, the best example of the benefits of psychotherapy. I have always felt that in order to help clients grow and heal old wounds, it was imperative that I needed to be a client. This is, of course, my own belief – from my own experience. Can I say I am a better counselor because I have availed myself to the experience of psychotherapy? I don’t know for sure – but what I do know is that as a counselor I am a human who has felt pain, despair, sadness, joy, fear, guilt, shame and embarrassment and has used therapy to heal, to connect, and to grow. As counselors – we support growth and healing in our clients – and it seems, to me, that we need to experience that which we encourage others to do. If we shy away from therapy – because we fear the perception (our own and others) that we may be weak – then how can we do a good job? How can we truly advocate for our clients? How can we believe in what we do?
Please take a moment to read Thomas Moore’s blog and let me know what you think. Follow this link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/thomas-moore/everyone-should-be-in-the_b_693124.html
Kathy Renfree is a counselor in a community mental health setting, teaches in a graduate counseling program as needed, and is looking forward to building a private practice.