As therapists, how do we take care of ourselves when dealing with our client’s tragedies and our own at the same time? As our world continues to experience both natural and man-inflicted disasters, taking care of us as service providers is even more challenging than ever. Aren’t we, too, struggling with these same experiences?
Today is the 10th anniversary of the devastating hurricane, Katrina. I have the honor of working with a number of colleagues in the New Orleans, Metairie, Lafayette, and Baton Rouge areas of Louisiana. As I consider this 10-year marker for their region, I am wondering about how to support them, and be a safe place for their own struggles and challenges as they support their clients and communities through the memories, loss, and grief.
While in New Orleans the last few years, I have seen the continued struggle of a community trying to rebuild. People living under highways, stories of children growing up on their own, and so many more pains that my privileged life sees none of. What my colleagues in LA are working with is devastating and tragic. My experience of Superstorm Sandy here on the east coast pales in comparison. I, personally, was on the outskirts of her wrath, and had only a few clients impacted by the storm in a life-altering way.
And as I watch the horror of the Virginia shooting of news reporters, the bizarre experience of Ashley Madison, the movie theater shooting a few weeks ago in Lafayette, I am feeling confused and dumbfounded by these acts of violence. I am trying to fathom how incredibly pained these human beings must be. Even right now, I am trying to find the words to put into print…
And so, when with my clients and colleagues, can I give myself permission to be a human being, too? Can I honor that as a human being, I have experienced and am impacted by these tragedies? That I struggle, too, to make sense of a world that is suffering so much?
Most often, as I share my feelings with others and they experience my humanity, we join in the pain and grief, confusion and despair, and through doing so, we join on a path of healing.
I have learned over the 15 years of being a therapist, and more so with my training in Emotionally Focused Therapy, we humans are not meant to be alone in our pain. We are meant to support each other, to grieve, to be angry, to be human, to be together.
As my colleagues are dealing with the 10 years since Katrina, and we are all dealing with the horrors in VA and other parts of the world, I hope we share our struggles with each other, to lean together, as we support ourselves as a community of human beings doing our best to get through these tragedies.
And I pray for peace for our world … a world whose heart is desperately hurting.
Hi and welcome to my blog! I am excited to have this endeavor underway. It has been many years in the making.