Human First, Therapist Second

Recently I cried for the first time ever in a therapy session with a client, and I cannot even begin to express how incredibly powerful, freeing, and cathartic that felt.

The therapeutic relationship is just that--a relationship. It’s an emotional and energetic exchange. Genuineness, authenticity, transparency, and trust are important components of that relationship. When I work with clients, we form an emotional bond, an attachment. We connect with one another, and it is through our connection that healing and transformation can take place. And oh, how powerful it is to bear witness to and be a part of that transformation.

I am both amazed and honored that I get to do what I do every day. I am grateful for the opportunity to be a vessel for healing in others and that I am called to facilitate the process of change in others. I am elated to bring my most valuable asset with me every day when I show up in the therapy room (well, more like the other side of the computer screen these days)--my most authentic self. Showing up as my most authentic self is empowering and refreshing. If showing up as my most authentic self means crying during a therapy session with a client, then so be it. The personal is professional, and I bring who I am outside of the therapy room into the therapy room. I refuse (and quite frankly, don’t think it’s possible) to hold back tears for the sake of appearing to “have it all together” or fit with whatever other expectations or stereotypes of therapists are out there. If having it all together means being out of touch with the human experience and detached from raw, real emotions, then I want no parts of that. I want to get messy, really messy. After all, the healing process is messy, and if I’m going to encourage clients to be vulnerable and trust the process, then why should I not be willing to do the same?

I want to live wholeheartedly and allow myself to experience the fullness of my humanity because it is through experiencing the fullness of our humanity that we can thrive. I believe that by showing up as my most authentic self, I give my clients permission and freedom to do the same. I continually emphasize that I am human first, therapist second, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Jasmine McLaughlin, LCSW

Owner/Founder | Empowered to Thrive Counseling and Wellness, LLC

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Cover photo provided courtesy of Unsplash.

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