None of us – no matter how intelligent or insightful we may be – can see ourselves truly objectively. We see ourselves and those around us through the lens of our very personal perceptions, impressions, and experience. The role of the psychotherapist is to cast a second set of eyes onto our inner worlds: to see the way we view the world and our place in it, the way we feel when certain parts of the past are evoked, and the ways we tend to repeat unproductive or hurtful patterns of behavior without even knowing it.
A good therapist provides a view into the parts of ourselves that may have become obscured from our own perceptions as we have gone about the business of getting through life. This does not necessarily mean going through the past with a fine toothed comb or rehashing a litany of our self-perceived shames and failures: it’s a process of identifying the ways in which we automatically or unconsciously hurt ourselves or those around us. In therapy, we bring those unconscious machinations into the light and thereby enable ourselves to ‘get out of our own way,’ as it were, and fulfill ourselves more completely.
I began my career in an inpatient hospital setting. I have worked with individuals, couples, and families from a great diversity of socioeconomic backgrounds and with all kinds of challenges and assets. And while each individual I have encountered has proven to be a completely unique, one-of-a kind human being, we all seem to want the same thing: to do the absolute best we can with what we have.