My new hope is that as a counselor I will look at my clients with the eyes of an artist. I’m an avid people watcher, and while sitting in a coffee shop earlier this week, I observed an interaction that touched my heart. It's a short story, so this blog post will be short. But, the story is poignant. On the couch to my right sat a woman. When she first entered the coffee shop, I noticed how tall and muscular she was. When she sat down on the couch, I realized she was transgendered. A few minutes later, a young woman sat in the chair across from me, which faced the couch to my right, and started sketching in a notebook. After finishing her sketch, she introduced herself to the transgendered woman and said, “I didn’t want you to think I was staring at you. I was sketching you. Here’s the sketch.” The transgendered woman replied, “I’m so flattered. And I knew you weren’t staring. You had the eyes of an artist – observant and full of concentration. You didn’t have any curious judgment in them.” Wow. What a profound statement coming from someone who possibly receives plenty of curious, judgmental stares. She could sense the difference between those stares and the stares of this young artist. I have a feeling that my future clients will be able to sense the difference as well. Let us all have the eyes of an artist as we interact with clients. Let us be observant, full of concentration, and sans judgment as we look at the inspiration for our art of counseling.
Courtnay Veazey is a counselor in training at Mississippi State University. She is an intern with the University of Mississippi's University Counseling Center.