Often as therapists, we can find our clients, and ourselves, for that matter, stuck where we are both connected but some emotion or behavior or techniques are bearing no “fruit”. I often find a change in perspective at what my clients are trying to work through is especially useful. Often this is accomplished by “thinking outside the box” per se by linking a therapeutic issue, emotion, or behavior a client is trying to understand and process, with another part of their life where they have confidence, familiarity, and maybe a passion for.
Using a baseball batting average with a former college baseball player battling low self-esteem and his mistakes and perceived failures; “I feel like I fail seventy percent of the time”. “So, you go to bat 10 times and strike out 7 of them, but you get 3 hits,” I ask. “What’s your batting average if this was to happen?”. “.300” my client responds, a smile beginning to form. “If you were to hit .300 for your whole career what does that usually mean in baseball?” “I would likely end of in the Hall of Fame” responding with a bigger smile. To drive the point home, I ask; “so you conceivable could fail 70% of the time and still be pretty successful?” This is often the opening and perspective change that gets us moving again.
Incorporating Client Experiences in Therapy
The use of a client’s other experiences; program management, business risk assessment, analyst, parenting, art, and hobbies are all useful components for providing a perspective change when needed or helpful. It also works toward establishing a strong, sincere therapeutic alliance by demonstrating to our clients through our familiarity with the lives they share with us.
It is important to be able to connect with our clients in many different ways. Personally, I believe that creating a solid trusting therapeutic connection is the true agent of change. The techniques or the processes – though proven, evidence-based, and necessary – aren’t always enough. We want to connect with our clients the way they interact in their world. Not only how they act with our office.
About Bradd Buckingham, M.A., LPC-R; Resident in Counseling:
Bradd is currently a resident in counseling providing counseling services at our Fredericksburg location. He is actively pursuing his license in Professional Counseling (LPC). Bradd is a recent graduate of The University of the Cumberlands with a master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. He completed a demanding internship working with individuals and couples at Fredericksburg Counseling Services.
Bradd specializes in working with individuals with complex trauma, personality disorders, anxiety, and depression. He can offer a safe environment for individuals and families in the LGBTQ community, as well as individuals with a variety of ethnic and cultural backgrounds. To learn more about Bradd, visit HERE.