Full Human-beingness (to borrow Manuela Mischke-Reeds‘ phrase).
As trauma workers, these are the some of the integral elements with which we do our work.
They’re the elements we carry with us into that space, between ourselves and our clients, that I call the trauma circle.
They are the components that we take the time to forge and cultivate, alongside our schooling, our reading and workshops and webinars.
This is the stuff that gets me going.
This is what I love about this work.
How can I become more…human?
…So that I can better engage and relate to, and with, that person sitting across from me?
These are the questions which drive me in my work.
A few weeks ago I interviewed Kathy Steele for her second appearance on the podcast.
She said something I’ll never forget.
She said this (and I’m paraphrasing here):
I’ve been doing this work for decades and I can honestly say that I never use specific interventions. What I do use, however, is the relationship I’m able to form with my client.
I think this resonates with me so strongly because it’s an invitation to be more courageous with who I am as a person, as a father, as a husband, and as a clinician.
It’s an invitation to become more vulnerable…
and to feel…
and to share who I am as a human on this journey of healing with my clients.
Of course, we as trauma workers do this with ethical boundaries. I’m not suggesting that we let ourselves go emotionally with our clients. No.
What I’m talking about here is the process of learning how to (ethically) share our human-ness, our selves, with those individuals sitting in front of us.
This process is the inner-work we must take on.
And it’s not always easy to do.
It’s the process of recognizing and then doing the work to engage our own fears, our perceived limitations, our biases, our own traumas.
It’s also the process of recognizing our strengths and proclivities; the things we love to do; our talents, and even those seemingly insignificant details about ourselves which make us…us.
It’s the process of daring ourselves to be, and to become, more vulnerable; and to allow ourselves to feel.
Doing this with our clients isn’t a free-for-all.
Rather, it’s where the practice comes in to play.
This is where your incredible supervisor lends her expertise.
This is where the daring gets its turn and where we have to unfurl our banner of self-trust and let it shine.
And if we commit to this adventure and do this full-on, then this will also be where we will undoubtedly trip up.
However, if you’ve been listening to the podcast then you will surely know and can find some solace in the fact that it’s been the mistakes and errors of my guests which have truly allowed them to grow as clinicians.
As Peter Bernstein has said, We have to realize that we’re no different than our clients.
So I ask you this:
What are you doing to become more human?
And how are you taking that into the work you do with your clients?
Are you able to do this?
This has been a learning experience for myself. And in truth, it’s been an uphill slog, in a sense.
Mix in a weakened dose of self-esteem, along with a healthy serving of insecurity, all generated by some early-on paradigm-shifting bullying, and you have the beginning to my story.
I’ve worked on and danced with that through my life, though, and that too continues to be a work in progress for myself.
Still, this topic sends a shiver of excitement through my spine.
It’s the most important aspect to this work, as I see it.
This is what my work at The Trauma Therapist Project is about.
It’s what I love focusing on in The Trauma Therapist | Podcast, and it’s what I’ve been trying to cultivate through my membership community, Trauma Therapist | 2.0.
If this resonates with you as much as it does me, then I say, Welcome, because you’ve just found your tribe.
Guy Macpherson, PhD.