Ever have a great massage? The way I feel after a massage-whew! My body feels at peace, restored. The trouble is after a massage, no matter how relaxed my body feels, if my mind isn't the same, it's hard for that feeling to last. I’ve been known to say that fancy spas should hire mental health counselors.
Sometimes at the end of my day in my counseling office, I like to think I’ve given people a soul massage - the role of talk therapy is like a restoring, healing massage for the soul. Healing moments happen when a therapist is truly listening, caring about you and believing what you are saying - one painful knot at a time. We are working out the pain together.
Although I don’t explicitly name it, I often find myself explaining my role as a soul masseuse. As a counselor who often works with university students, many of my clients are new to therapy. They often ask me about how therapy works and what I’ll be doing to help them solve problems or get back on track. Although I can tell them about the techniques I use, I often find myself explaining about the healing role of the therapy relationship. Especially because loneliness, relationship stress, and social anxiety are serious issues impacting college campuses, the therapy relationship is a vehicle for change. The art of therapy is connecting to another person in a real, meaningful and healing way. I use thoughtful words, my whole heart and my soul to connect. I use the depth of our emotional experience, the weight of silence, and the smile in my eyes.
This soul-to-soul connecting gets tiring in a way I could expect my massage therapist’s hands to be sore at the end of the day. I also expect that she boasts of strong, powerful hands. I like to think that counselors have strong, powerful souls. Part of this strength is learned, honed over years of education and experiencing therapy relationships. Another part of the strength of our counselor soul is in the qualities of who we are, our own stories and our presence. Finally, much of our strength comes from our clients and their courage, hope, trust and willingness to go to the pain and tears to heal and make sense of the sometimes scary world we live in.
I wouldn’t get by without the soul-to-soul connection I experience in therapy. It’s why I do the work and part of why I enjoy the opportunity to help people understand the connection experienced in therapy.
Amy Rosechandler, MS, LMHC is a counselor in Rochester, NY working with teens and adults at a local university counseling center and in her own private practice, Clarity Mental Health Counseling. Amy adores group counseling, youth development, and strengths based approaches to therapy.
Read more about Amy at http://claritymentalhealth.org/about.php