Welcome to another Mindful Metaphors! This episode I am going to be talking about something near and dear to my heart. It is about my approach to therapy and how I personally relate to those I help.
Some schools of therapy encourage the therapist to reveal nothing about themselves. But this is problematic for a few reasons. First, we are all human, with a story, life experiences, and struggles of our own. It is because of my own difficulties and experiences I have had that allows me relate so compassionately with others. Second, I believe that being authentic and open with the people I support helps them know they are not alone and that I understand them.
This isn’t to say I get into the details of my issues with the people I help. Not really. What I do let them know is that I too am a human and know how difficult it can be to have a human mind that creates all sorts of emotions, unhelpful thoughts, and confusion.
At this point, I’ve spent a good part of my life looking into the nature of my experience and listening to the experiences of others. I’ve learned a lot about human suffering, anxiety, depression, and the pain that our minds dish out on a daily basis. And I’m still learning and growing.
So that’s what this metaphor is all about. Me and you and how I believe I can best serve other people in the individual therapy and group work that I do. So without further ado, the two mountains metaphor:
Image two big mountains side by side in a vast landscape. On each mountain is a traveler slowly making his or her way up the mountain. Each mountain has a variety of ditches, muddy roads, and snow to navigate through. There are also some beautiful views from each of the mountains, some flowers, and nourishing fruit to eat. We each have our unique mountain with challenges and rewards.
I have been climbing mine since my life began and you have been climbing your mountain since you started life as well. We’ve each had our journeys to where we are now. Much of my journey has been understanding my anxiety and learning how to peacefully navigate it. I walk that path every day.
In therapy, I seek to understand your journey. Where you have started, where you have had a difficult time, and what has brought you joy and meaning. Chances are, maybe you are feeling stuck on your mountain and not sure how to proceed. Maybe you are not sure what direction to take. Maybe it feels too difficult to go on. And I understand that, I’ve been there too.
But here’s how therapy can help. My mountain is there too. And I’ve got my binoculars out and I can see your mountain and where you are on it. I can look at how far you have come, what you have done to get there, and where you are currently stuck. I can help you navigate the difficult parts as they come up, give you strategies and ways of approaching these obstacles that you have not tried before.
I can offer you perspective on the entire mountain and if the direction you are headed looks like the one that gets you to the top. From my point of view, navigating the mountain is easy.
And I know this to be true because I too have had mentors, teachers, and therapists help me navigate my mountain. And I still climb every day alongside of them and alongside of you. We are all climbing our mountains together. And it would be an honor to help on your journey so you can reach the destination you would like.
Wonderful. I hope you have enjoyed this metaphor and that it helped you understand my approach to therapy and helping others. We all have our journey so why not help each other along the way.
Until next time,
Ellis Edmunds, Psy.D.
Therapy for Anxiety and Mindfulness Groups in Oakland, CA.
Tired of being stuck on your mountain? Contact me for a free 15 minute consultation today.