A Sacred Relationship: Holding the Flashlight
This statement refers to the relationship between the therapist and the client. There is truly an art and a technique in listening. It allows for the opening of the attainment of power. It’s the power of being heard. Being heard is a monumental healing tool for our patients. As I teach my students, one of the things that we emphasize repeatedly is how difficult it is in the ‘helping’ profession to just keep your mouth shut sometimes! We as therapists have a need or desire to truly and deeply help, however, we don’t realize that sometimes helping can actually be hurting. If we don’t provide an atmosphere for people to speak, in their time, in their own way, then we prevent them from feeling safe. One of the most difficult things to do is to be quiet and be patient, let the person speak without interrupting, without trying to “help” them find their words. Sometimes because we think we know what the person is trying to say, or demonstrate, our skill of understanding (consciously or unconsciously) we may end up cutting them off. Counselors may interrupt their process. A therapist can do great damage to the client/therapist relationship without really even knowing it!
My training has been primarily with the underlying knowledge and awareness that the patient ALWAYS knows the answer to the problem which they suffer from. Our job as healers is to acknowledge the honour and the privilege of “holding the flashlight” so to speak, while we go into the deep shadowy parts of the psyche. It is truly an honour and a privilege to be asked and allowed into a person’s psyche, and we must never forget or miss-use the power that the client gives us to help them heal.