Therapists Share The Lessons Their Clients Have Taught Them Over The Years
In a perfect world, every single person would have a therapist. Whether or not they are mentally ill, it's important to always have someone to talk things through with- that's what mental health professionals are for. But what some clients don't realize is that sometimes, the clients help the therapist just as much as the therapist helps them.
u/TheFoodTray asked: Therapists of reddit, what's something that a client has taught YOU (unknowingly) that you still treasure?
Therapists need help too.
In general - that humans can experience an incredible amount of trauma, loss, overall suffering and not only continue to exist, but continue to find meaning and even contentment in their lives.
It's helped me to re-frame my own trauma in a more helpful way and also made me less fearful of what my future may hold - recognizing that we can tolerate much, much more than we think we can.
Sometimes it's the people who have endured trauma that have an easier time letting things roll or looking at life's speed bumps and saying "That happened. How do I handle it?"
Once you've hit a hard bottom, any hardship that isn't that bad doesn't stress you as much. It also gives you more empathy and compassion for people in a hard spot.
When my mother was at her Cluster B best, my friends were impressively self-absorbed and actively did not care. People who had endured worse were so much kinder than people who hadn't.
A thirst for knowledge.Giphy
I work with college students (freshman all the way through final years of PhD programs, med school, etc.) I'm amazed by their constant desire for knowledge.
18yo and 40yo, it doesn't matter. There is an information lust in all of them. It makes me more passionate about my field and I go to trainings and conferences thrilled to learn thanks to them. It's incredible. The difference in my mental state from working outpatient to working exclusively with the student population is amazing. They've saved my career.
This is incredible advice.
Just today someone said to me, "I tell myself all the time 'if I can stay sober for the next 30 minutes I'm going to make it'. Sometimes I have to tell myself that more than once, but I make it every time".
It really got to me today, that little saying has so much meaning behind it for so many things. It put in perspective for me that dealing with certain issues is a minute by minute thing, but I can make it no matter what.
So many things it isn't even funny. I get to learn about professions and hobbies that I have zero knowledge about or desire to do, but I like knowing.
Beyond being taught something, two things have that clients have told me have made me feel so good and have stayed with me.
So, I use acceptance and commitment therapy as my approach. It is an approach that I use in my life so I will use examples of how I use it to help guide clients. I was giving an example of getting caught up in thoughts while on a walk on the weekend. Specifically thoughts about how this very client was doing because she and I had practiced a very difficult script for her to set some boundaries. I was getting swept away and wasn't present on my walk, so I dropped anchor and got in the present.
That client said that knowing that I think about her and her wellbeing outside of session made her feel so special and cared for. I took it for granted that clients knew we think about them. Half of my case planning comes from walking thoughts or driving thoughts. It changed how I practice. I make sure to share, in appropriate ways, how often I do think about my client's wellbeing outside of session.
Another was about 6 years ago. I was sick with my autoimmune disorder, about 100lbs overweight, medications weren't working, I was the only therapist for my work site as they couldn't fill positions. I burned out. Ended up on stress leave for 6 weeks. I returned to work kinda questioning how can I be a good therapist if I burned out. I returned to a hand written letter from a client from the year previous. She wrote a thank you letter that told me how she had continued to use the skills we worked on, how she had changed her life, and the impact I made in her. Literally, this woman's letter saved my career.
I truly love my work and I keep way better work-life balance now that I am more adept a living with a chronic illness! Also, I am 95lbs lighter now too. I got healthy.
Something everyone needs to know.Giphy
How to let go, over and over again, of people I care about. So many years of intensely relating, and giving, and letting go. I treasure the gift of being in the place to learn that lesson. It has helped me be a better friend and family member to not hold on so tight.
How a good relationship should be.
When talking about two people being in a relationship, a child I was working with described it as 1+1=2. Changed the perspective of "my other half" or looking at two people in a relationship as whole.
I know use two distinct wholes (1 person), who choose to come together as two.
To add to this, just this week in my session my counselor used the analogy of a 3 legged stool for a relationship and similarly I said that I always have seen a relationship as 3 people. There is me, you, and us. Each of the 3 need to be cared for to function.
Important to remember.
I'm a therapist in a psychiatric hospital and my patients have taught me how thin the line is between being mentally healthy and ill. Many of my patients were healthy and high functioning until one event happened to them.
That could be anyone. We are all just one incident away from being permanently ill. I am grateful and humbled by the tenacity of my patients, and for each day I am healthy.
Something I inadvertently taught my therapist is when I'm really struggling to start my day, I divide it up into "quest objectives" ala video games. ie "Shower, Breakfast and dress" "Get to work on time" "Complete at least three briefs today" and so on and so forth.
It really helps me set short term goals for getting through the day. She told me she has subsequently used this method with other clients and it's worked well.
I'm a therapist for children with autism. These kids go to school and then therapy 5 days a week. Adding up to 10 hours a day, more than some working adults. Most of the kids at least. They work hard to increase their skill sets. I have struggled with severe anxiety and still struggle with it sometimes.
While I'm teaching them life skills, they teach me perseverance through tough days and to smile and keep going even through the mistakes. These kids never fail to amaze me and I'm so proud to say I work with them.
I was the patient but during an early session I mentioned the Chaplin quote "A day without laughter is a day wasted." And my therapist had never heard that before and said they were going to use that. I saw it as a quote hanging on their wall soon thereafter.
People Explain Which Things They Couldn't Live Without Once They Tried Them
They say ignorance is bliss, and there is truth to that statement.
Whether it involves trying a new fashion fad, type of food, or starting a new activity that spikes your endorphins, it's to go back to the way things were prior to experiencing them.
It's like opening Pandora's Box. The joy of discovery is exciting, but it also has the potential to consume you.
Curious to hear from strangers online who were unable to get the toothpaste back into the tube, Redditor Kapuishon88 asked:
"What’s something you can’t live without once you’ve tried it?"
Computer-related activity is addictive.
"Started in 1983 before I had reliable memories of anything. It's been a daily obsession since then."
"Original Zelda. Level 1. 32 years ago. Resistance was futile."
Opening Up The Periphery
"A second monitor."
The following involve the things that make life easier.
"For me it’s noise canceling headphones."
"A decent income."
Preference For The Dark
"Blackout curtains for me. The noise-cancelling headphones of light."
"Quality underwear / socks."
It's a hygienic thing.
The Perfect Backsplash
"Was gonna say the same. I explain to people that once you use one, you'll feel like a peasent when you wipe your a** with TP."
"Baby wipes. Damn, they are good at cleaning up so many things! The kids are 10 and 15 now and we still buy them by the case. Clean the counters, clean your shoes, get stains out of your clothes, bring them with you when you go eat ribs. Better than a napkin. Clean the table. Clean the desk. Clean the island. Wipe up the spill."
I have to agree about bidets being a life-changing discovery.
Ever since I was a kid going to visit my relatives in Japan and noticing virtually every toilet having a built-in spray 'n wash button, I was like, "Why doesn't America have these wondrous devices installed in every toilet?"
Not only is it super satisfying, it saves trees.
Most of us love animals and take stock of other people's pets. Some people have a better chance of remembering another person's pet's name than the person themselves.
Part of that allure has to do with the fun and creative names that many people come up with for their pets.
The Redditor, who has since deleted their account, asked:
"What is the best pet's name you've ever heard?"
The Autobots Would Be Proud
"I had a friend once who had a bunny named Hoptimus Prime."
Extra Hoppy Beer
"I live in northern Colorado which has a pretty big craft beer scene. One of our biggest and most popular breweries is Odell Brewing."
"One of my coworkers named her dog Odell because he had three legs which, in her words, made him extra hoppy."
At the Race Track
"I once heard of a race horse named Thunderbritches!"
From the 'Tragedy of Julius Caesar'
"I had a friend who had a 14-foot python as a pet named Julius Squeezer."
An Ode to Eminem
"My wife's fish was named Swim Shady."
Such a Giant, Cuddly Dog
"An Old English Sheepdog named 'Woolly.'"
Not Like the Movies
"My cat's name, he's named 'Gremlin'."
"A lot of people believe the movies were the inspiration, I just wanted to give my cat a weird but cute name."
What a Tongue-Twister
"My guinea pig was Wanda Wilhelmina Wobblebottom."
Tiny But Mighty
"A Redditor once posted a photo of their little, black kitten named Admiral Anchovies."
"That is all."
"A little pug named Barbecue, or perhaps a corgi mutt with eyebrows named Party Time."
Adorable Stage Names
"I still love the name Kitty Purry (Katy Perry's cat)."
"Someone in the 'backyardchickens' subReddit named one of their girls Attila the Hen."
A Name Upgrade
"A friend of a friend had a cat named Snack."
"Eventually, Snack had a few too many snacks, and they started calling him Meal."
Sounds Like a Big Boy
"A French bulldog called Tankerbell."
A Fair Question
"Between Chairman Meow and Benito Meowsolini, uh, there are a lotta cats with dictator names. What's next, Meowseph Stalin? Kitler?"
"Then again, cats are all wannabe dictators..."
Not only are some of these names hilarious, but these pet owners were on high creative alert when they named their furry loved ones.
Whether or not to bring children into the world is a very personal decision.
While there are many arguments as to why anyone should, or shouldn't have children, it's not a decision for other people to make for you.
Some people dream of being a parent since they were children themselves, and can't wait to shower their own children with love.
While others always dreamed of having children, but for one reason or another, it simply never worked out.
Then there are those who never saw children as part of their life plan and don't feel any kind of void without having children in their lives.
"Why don't you have kids and/or do not plan on having kids?"
Don't Want Them Enough
"I just don't feel like I want it badly enough, and one should really want to have a child in order to be able to give their 100% as a parent, every child deserves that."- SignificantFunny1523
Prefer A Good Night's Sleep
"I love sleep."
"I get up when I'm being paid to get up but otherwise my great and immediate joy is sleeping until I don't feel like sleeping anymore."
"I much prefer sleep to children."- DamnIGottaJustSay
How Long Have You Got?
"Why do I plan not to have children?"
"'unrolls a list that's miles long...'"- HagBasket
"This curse ends with me."- DaveTheRoper
Too Short A Fuse...
"Don’t have the patience for kids."- Leoimirmir
When Weighing The Pros And Cons...
"I don't see the upsides."- igna92ts
Plain And Simple
"I don’t want to be a parent."
"That’s a perfectly valid reason."- AllyriaCelene
"Kids are great if you don’t like money or sleep."- ComplicationOnRS
"Clean house, financial comfort, ability to travel/leave the house whenever we want to."- Dear-Cockroach4589
Knowing What's Best For Yourself
"The whole process seems incredibly painful and difficult."
"I'd f*ck my kids up."
"I have a fearful-avoidant attachment style as a result of my toxic parents."
"I wouldn't be able to properly parent."
"I'm incredibly inpatient and would change my mind 3 months in, if I even made it through the whole pregnancy.'
"I want freedom."
"Having kids means being available and responsible."
"I am not and will not be these things."
"I wanna live for me, live to enjoy life, and I most definitely won't enjoy having kids."
"The world is overpopulated and f*cked."
"I don't see any point in bringing more people to this world."
"I have more reasons but these are my top 5."- mayo_nnais3
"Because I am scared of being a bad parent."
"I can't bring a life in this world just to screw it."
"Thanks for f*cking me up Narc dad."- WaywardRoads
"To quote Homer Simpson 'aww I have 3 kids and no money. I wish I had 3 money and no kids'."
"I like my lifestyle."
"I am starting a 'college fund", but instead of paying for a 3-year degree I’m going to blow it on a looooonnngggg vacation."- timberwolf0122
"Cost of raising a kid, and the lifelong stress of raising a kid."- Typical_Conclusion_5
There are those who might call people selfish for not wanting children for the reasons listed above.
Perhaps these reasons are selfish, but on the other hand, they know they would not be able to give a child the attention, love, and support they would need.
It's the people who know this and have children anyway who might be considered the selfish ones.
People Explain Which Piece Of Information They've Learned That Almost Feels Illegal To Know
Everyone loves a juicy secret or insider knowledge.
From knowing about a secret love affair happening between colleagues to understanding how to cheat the system when booking a table at a hot restaurant.
There are times, however, when holding onto a valuable piece of knowledge comes with a fair share of stress.
Indeed, sometimes knowing something which isn't common knowledge to everyone feels like it could get you in pretty serious trouble.
Almost as if the simple act of knowing what you do was illegal.
"What piece of information did you learn, that feels illegal to know?
"Sometimes you can play around with URLs and find clean copies of watermarked previews."
"Helps a lot when trying to learn a song that you don’t have sheet music for."- funkycat75Sheet Music Animation GIFGiphy
Not Illegal To Know, But Possibly Illegal To Use
"You can order maintenance keys on Amazon for most models of coin op laundry machines."- Reddit
"You can buy many keys online."
"Among them are:"
"There's the Ford fleet keys, which can get you into cops cars."
"There's firefighter and maintenance elevator keys which let you control elevators."
"You can turn them off, or turn it to fire evacuation mode (it just goes to main floor and is then unusable) and even firefighter/maintenance mode which the elevator will only go where you want it to go.''
"It won't stop at other floors to pick up other people."
"Keys for bulldozers, backhoes, and other heavy equipment."
"Often one key will open many models from the same manufacturer."
"There's also something called a Lishi Tool."
"It can be used to pick locks, but it's also set you to tell you the position of each pin in the lock."
"That allows you to have another key cut from code (useful if you lose your keys and don't want to replace the whole lock.)"
"And of course, handcuff keys."
"I've used a real handcuff keys in toy cuffs, so I'd imagine toy keys could work in real handcuffs."
"Generally these would all be legal to own (except the Lishi which is a type of lockpick and has various legalities around the US.)"
"All you need is an internet connection, a credit card to pay for it and an address to send it to."- David2022Wallacediy colour GIFGiphy
I Mean, They Weren't Going To Use Them...
'If you go to the plant section of a store and walk around, you will likely find a few clippings on the ground."
"You can pick those up and take them home with you and stick them in some dirt and illegally download a plant for free."- periyyas
Can Delete The File, Not The Info
"One time I received an email from my boss with an attachment that he clearly didn’t mean to send."
"It was an Excel file showing the compensation of everyone in my extended department."
"I gawked at it for a few minutes before he showed up at my desk."
"He made me delete it while he watched.'
"He couldn’t delete it from my brain though."- DWright_5shift gmail GIF by Product HuntGiphy
Good To Know, I Guess?
"If you use a natural gas then fire fighters will think it was a gas leak whereas if you use something like gasoline, it leaves identifiable burn marks."- Crash_Junior-
A Helpful Glitch
"Doesn't seem to work anymore, but there was a restaurant chain app that I realized that after I had used rewards points that gave me $6 off one of my orders."
"My usual order was about $12, so about half off."
"I then noticed next time if I selected re-order previous order it would still include that $6 off every time, even though I had nowhere near the rewards points to keep getting that amount off, it just copied all the specifics of the previous order."- turkeysandwich1982
"En passant."- Normal_Public3520Chess GIF by NETFLIXGiphy
Always Look For The Loophole
"In Australia, no electrical apprentice can work within 600mm of green domes ( where houses are connected to underground power) but you can work as close as you want if you don't have any electrical license."- thorpie88
When You're Dealing With Something Bigger Than The Law...
"Jury nullification is something every U.S. citizen should know about."
"Disseminating information about it could actually lead to charges being pressed in certain circumstances, so it kinda is illegal at times."- Mrgoodtrips64
When You Don't Feel Like Paying
"You can just create a new email and extend your trial limit."- HolyFire-Giphy
...Make Friends With A Gardener?...
'In Brazil, it's not illegal to consume and grow hallucinogens mushrooms though it's illegal to sell them."- MuriloJCD
It's always exciting to hold on to secrets or privileged information.
And all the trouble it has the potential to get you into might make it only more exciting.