Friday, November 6, 2009

Caring for the Therapist and the Art of Being Therapeutic

So if every now and then a client feels the need to take care of their therapist, e.g. if the therapist is sick, the client detects this and just for that hour takes the initiative to go easy on the therapist, isn’t that a normal human need? Isn’t that the client, let’s call us human beings because last time I looked that’s what we are, isn’t that the expression of the need of one human being to care for another human being? Isn’t the desire of the client to care for the therapist a display of a basic human need that says I can see you need something and I can give it to you right now so let me express my basic human need to care for you just for this one time in this controlled place in this very small way.

And isn’t it inherently ‘therapeutic’ to let that human being express that need in the form of sympathy and gentleness and caring concern even if it is the client giving that to the therapist?
Sometimes I think that the whole therapy process can get so tied up in acknowledging and concentrating on what ‘we’ need, for example I am the client, I need love, I need affection, I need care and empathy and concern, I need, I need, I need, I NEED to get my needs met that it forgets that one of our greatest needs is to EXPRESS our love to another, EXPRESS our care and concern and empathy, to EXPRESS our need to address the needs of others. Part of therapy is all about learning to identify and express your feelings. Well you know what? I NEED to express my feelings of love and concern and care for others and sometimes those ‘others’ include the person of my therapist sitting across from me for that hour each week.

I know, I know, it is not in the interest of the client that this should become the pattern of the therapy, I understand that. But every now and then if you therapists could give us the opportunity to express our care and concern for you and to allow us to see that you can be comfortable with receiving that small level of care from us I do think that you would be exhibiting your skills as a therapist in an exceptional way.

We as human beings NEED to give as much as we get and THAT…. Is therapeutic.


  1. I wholeheartedly agree. Knowing that you have something to give, something to offer, is very therapeutic. It's okay, and even advisable, to break down professional barriers on occasion. Honest, true relationships and interactions are what the human spirit need most of all.

  2. There is absolutely nothing to be added to your last sentence. Except perhaps for why don't we realize this sooner?