5 secrets about excellent psychotherapists
Timing is everything and meeting the right professional at the right time can be life-saving. I'm sure you've been a client of someone. Your dentist, coach, healer, doctor, or massage therapist? Have you been a glowing client? Have you got what you truly needed?
I am very passionate about what I do. Stretching the boundaries of traditional psychotherapy, and fusing it with Energy Psychology and spiritual work is my love and #obsession. I see my work as skill, art, and science. There is always growth, never perfection, and no shortcuts for sure. In 20+ years of study, work, and training, I've witnessed many good things happen:
Years of traumatic anxiety and anguish shifted melting into strength and trust.
Quitting self-destructive behaviors, like drugs.
Not afraid to fly anymore, visit the dentist.
Stop binge eating.
Starting to enjoy public speaking.
Ending a relationship with a narcissistic partner.
Writing the book.
Get peaceful with MS.
Turning despair into purpose.
Transforming self-hate into radiating love.
When a client grows, everything glows, I think, and everything feels so fine. Naturally, I believe in positive change, love, and new opportunities. I mean, I cannot imagine doing my work without this. I honestly feel every breath is a reason to be grateful. Life is full of possibilities. However, sometimes it also plainly sucks. There is light, yet there is darkness. It's natural. It's how it is.
So, besides good, in all those years of learning, studies, teachings, and private practice, I also encountered living nightmares. Observed or heard of situations that shouldn't have happened in the therapy world. Like:
Words were spoken that cannot be taken back.
Serious fucking boundary issues, like sex with clients.
It's human to turn around and try to deny all this. Yet when something goes really wrong and affects people profoundly, it cannot be just forgiven and forgotten. It should be transformed because we can turn bitterness and ugliness into help, as we can shift fear to love. So out of all the nightmarish experiences and many good ones, I've picked up some basics about what's good to know about psychotherapists, the good ones. Because in general, I think it's imperative who you pick up and allow to be your influencer.
As Bruce Lipton advocates: "It's the environment, stupid."
So, it is worth being conscious, deliberate and weight up who will become: your spiritual teacher, your boss, your key employee, your lover, your trusted friend, your doctor, your coach, and your psychotherapist.
So, here are 5 essential attitudes that I've observed in meeting various excellent psychotherapists over the years and some not-so-professional ones. As you'll see, I don't talk about their education knowledge, scientific degrees, or multiple training. I take this for granted.
Psychotherapists' basic qualities are reflected in their relationships with clients or trainees; this is my personal, 100% biased top choice.
1. Excellent therapists are approachable, natural, and simple
Now you know. There is no Santa, and therapists are human beings. They are not coming from celestial realms or some extraterrestrial space. They deserve no idealization. In their private lives, they've probably experienced challenging life stories, pushing them into healing their wounds and making them supersensible and conscious about how other people feel and do.
In their private lives they:
Feel, hear, see, think, laugh, cry, have sex, party, rage, use toilets, F words, straight, bi- or homosexual / else, health and wellness issues. In their private lives, they experience - Emotional challenges, financial worries, family conflicts, rebellious kids or no kids, spiritual quests.
They face losses, craziness, and health issues. They face death. They are mortal, and they know it. That all makes them approachable, natural, and straightforward. You can feel it, see it and smell it. There is no fuss, ignorance, drama or arrogance, missed appointments, weird delays in answering emails, and no harsh words with or without apologizing, blaming, bypassing responsibility, or shit like that.
A good therapist gives you a certain feeling of comfort, openness, lightness, and safety.
And that all is stable today and tomorrow.
Do you know why?
2. Excellent therapists truly care
Because it all has to do with Love, it has to do with the psychotherapist's heart and capacity to Love. Excellent therapists truly care. They are like human beings in general. They show respect and are humble in their general attitude toward life. This doesn't mean they need to be vegans—or social activists. Or never yell or rage about some stuff. It means they are helpful to you, and it has nothing to do with you paying them for their time and skill.
They would be helpful to you even if you were a stranger on the plane to Juneau, Alaska.
From the way they talk and walk and comment about people and the world, you can see they are loving and caring.
You can feel it, see it and smell it.
3. Excellent therapists exercise excellent boundaries
Boundaries equal safety. Safety is crucial for any growth to happen.
Proper energetic boundaries are not a woo-woo concept. In this vast, big world, full of crazy possibilities, appropriate boundaries are necessary more than ever. Having proper boundaries means staying within your power, connected to yourself and Spirit. That helps you to communicate with other people in as much as realistic way as possible. There is a low level of projection of your images onto them, and you can sense people and the world as they are as much as possible.
For psychotherapists to be in this state, I think they need to be healed to a good degree because psychotherapists can take clients only as far as they made it. Excellent ones; they've done enough personal work. They have been clients themselves, a majority of past wounds and traumas being cleared and healed. This is why great psychotherapists can be young sometimes. How they work is to a certain degree connected with life experiences. Mostly it concerns how deeply they suffered and how they made their way out of it.
Best psychotherapists have often been wounded healers. They paid their dues and firstly, they do not harm. Their extended inner work is the only real protection possible against the most dreadful and shadow parts of a psychotherapist's job - emotional, financial, and sexual abuses within the psychotherapy context.
Psychotherapy work is sacred.
Clients should always be protected, and psychotherapists should be constantly aware of their power position. They are responsible for boundaries on a different level than the client is, and that's it.
No sex, love affairs, business, or double roles with clients.
They are not there to charm you or seduce you. And they don't need groupies or any other kind of adoration. Perhaps you really like your therapist, but you know he is okay with not liking him.
With a good psychotherapist, you feel there are boundaries. They are kind, yet say no! and you can count on it. They have private lives, and of course, they share their humanity with you. But talking about it never becomes a topic in your therapy hour. Above all, you can freely say what you feel and observe, and it is encouraged to do it always. They can take it because they feel safe.
They are friendly and alive, yet humble.
And they know how to allow relationships to start and end. So therapy is usually not a never-ending story. They enable clients to go.
4. They are taking good self-care
Do you have a therapist that seems to be available 24/7? No getaways, no vacation ever? This one is simple to notice. As are other characteristics in this category: some of them you can literally see and smell. I'm not talking about Miss America here. Or designer clothes, anyone? It's simple. Like how they look, posture, chronic fatigue, and tidiness. How do they smell? How does the therapy room smell?
Here, I'm assuming the therapist's necessary vitality, the level of Qi. His overall energetic makeup is directly connected with how he or she takes care of his body, mind, and Soul.
Psychotherapy is a demanding profession. We all need time for ourselves, and in the helping profession, there is a significant need for this! Periods of rest and privacy are crucial for psychotherapists to rejuvenate, connect with themselves and grow.
Your psychotherapist cannot give time, attention, and Love if he or she is not full.
And it should go without saying, but experience denotes that it does require a hard-core mention: no addictions, please.
5. Excellent therapists practices tax ethics
Client, soft-spoken: "Mrs. Psychotherapist, can we do it without a bill? This part - showing on the VAT section on their bill - is just my cost."
One of the reasons many people come to therapy is they don't feel connected. They lack the feeling of belonging to themselves and the Spirit, their families, nature, and community. They don't know that everything is connected to everything else.
I respect and understand they don't know why it is crucial to pay taxes in general. It's part of their inner dynamic and the deeper perception of Life, belonging to this Life.
Yet, I have difficulties understanding colleagues enabling this. I think psychotherapists making it possible - no bills, no taxes, no VAT - exhibit the same problem as their clients do—lack connection and awareness that we are in all this together.
I have a story embodying all about this...
It is the day after Christmas. I am in an ambulance. I am on ER drive to the nearest hospital. My daughter is suffering from anaphylaxis. It is heartbreaking and traumatic. I am trembling, observing technicians and doctors caring for my precious child. The fear of losing her is mixed with an immense feeling of gratefulness inside of me. For them being them. Taking care of my kid. Delivering adrenalin, checking vital signs... I trust them in my daughter's life.
Some people just don't get it, and I doubt it's good when therapists are not getting it: we have a social-economic system and pay taxes for this level of care in our lives. We pay for schools, roads, railways, and the public health system. Governments are full of raw power-driven people with highly questionable motives. Yet some things in our society still function because we all make it possible and care, and delivering VAT is one of the ways how we all make our society function.
In a Nutshell
Excellent psychotherapists are approachable, natural, and straightforward. They are not perfect, and they know it. They respect and care, and exhibit high responsibility and ethics. No addictions, no sex or flirts, no business with clients - all this, hopefully, goes without saying.
** Tina Bozic is a psychologist and psychotherapist. In her private practice, she helps women heal deep soul wounds to build lives on their own sacred terms. Tina specializes in energy work in psychotherapy tailored to heal the painful effects of trauma in relationships.