“It’s for you!”
Over the last ten years in my private practice, I occasionally hear this request from new clients.
“Are you the kind of therapist who will call me on my shit?”
“Yes, I am,” is the short answer. But how I do that may not be exactly what you have in mind. The longer answer includes a few variables that I’ve learned really matter in this endeavor, such as:
- how long we’ve been working together
- how strong our therapeutic alliance is
- whether or not you are in a crisis or you’re in a more stable place in your life
As someone who has a semi-objective (I mean, who can really be fully objective, in these human bodies with all of these accumulated experiences, anyway?) point of view, I may be able to sense some of the patterns you’re perpetuating or some of the defenses you’re displaying more easily than you can. As your therapist, it’s my job to take note of these and to reflect them to you in a way that is empathic and understanding. It’s also my aim to provide you with some alternatives.
What Does Calling You on Your Shit Look Like?
For different people, the answer may look very different. If being “called out” is important to you, are you specifically looking for one or more of the following from me?
- Tough questions
- Specific coping skills
- Help with identifying the problems (the pattern of thoughts or behaviors)
- Highlighting inconsistencies in your values and actions or reflecting “bad” choices
- Challenging the excuses or justification you typically use
- Help developing a plan of action
The Issue of Accountability
Sometimes, when we rely on others to keep us accountable there may be some challenges with our own responsibility-taking. Strengthening this personal challenge to step up to the plate and take accountability on your own is a perfectly worthwhile therapeutic goal.
Developing your own sense of insight, or an understanding of how or why you’ve chosen (often unconsciously) the actions or patterns in your life is an important aspect of any therapy.
I am here to support and guide you in this process, and until you are able to do that work on your own, yes, that may look like me, calling you out, on your shit.