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After Thirty Years of Practice: Why I Still Love Being a Therapist

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Date : September 17, 2017

I started my private therapy practice almost thirty years ago. I was motivated to work for myself because I always had a problem with “authority”. I was not good at following orders I believed went against the best interests of my clients or were not logical. In my thirties, I combined arrogance, a sense of injustice, an intense desire to help others and anxiety into a new art form.

I saw my first client in October 1987. I was exhilarated and terrified; hoping to make it in this new world I had created for myself. Now after seeing hundreds of clients who have been children, teens and adults; My love for my craft is stronger than ever.

Why I Love Being a Therapist:

1. When I help a teenager from a high conflict divorce find his voice. He learns to tell his parents that he doesn’t want to hear them talk negatively about the other and he doesn’t want to take sides in their endless war.

2. When an adult client understands how internalized hatred has damaged her and finds the courage to honestly self-examine her hurt.

3. When any client authentically discloses remorse for physically/emotionally hurting another and wanting to take steps to apologize to that person. He is also willing to listen to his victim share her story about how his violence hurt her.

4. When a client with a history of intense, multiple trauma feels safe enough in the room with me to open up about her painful memories.

5. When my empathy and direction to a client who was been neglected/abused by the medical system leads them to be assertive with health care professionals.

6. When a client knows that I understand exactly what she is talking about. This experience increases her trust for me and the therapeutic process. I can then help guide her to the next step of healing.

7. I admire my client’s intelligence, survival skills, their willingness to change, their understanding that there is no quick fix, and their understanding of how trauma affects them. When I support and validate these life lessons, magic is in the air and the possibility to discover joy is real.

8. When a client who has had the mindset of trusting the expert more than trusting her own judgement begins to change. Instead of asking me what to work on, she lists her own agenda. If I offer a comment on what is going on with her, she is now more likely to disagree with my assessment and share a solid one of her own. Learning to trust herself is now an attainable goal. Instead of seeing the therapist as the all-knowing expert on mental health, she now experiences me a person with some great ideas and some not so great. She then learns to tolerate the imperfection in herself.

9. Whenever a client and I share a similar feeling, experience, memory or interpretation of a song. This leads to increased trust and moments that bring excitement to the client and the therapist.

10. When a client I have worked with years ago wants to resume therapy because his previous work with me significantly changed his life. He hopes he can have a similar experience in therapy this go around.

11. When one of my client finally finds the strength to leave an abusive situation. She gives herself the opportunity to be free of degradation and she begins to understand why she stayed in this situation for so long.

12. My clients who are willing to explore Sandtray Therapy. Sandtray Therapy is a unique way of healing emotional trauma by utilizing miniature figures in the sand. The actual harmful experience becomes alive in the tray as the client learns to find the path to overcome the pain.

I am now sixty-six years old and should be thinking about retirement, but I so enthralled by my work, I see no reason to quit. I want to thank all my clients who have allowed me to serve you and hopefully been an agent of change in your lives. I also want to thank my partner, my soulmate, the love of my life, Gail Meadows who I have been married to for forty-five years.

Looking forward to the next adventure……

Click here for information about Redemption of the Shattered: A Teenager’s Healing Journey through Sandtray Therapy.

If you would like to obtain more information about Sandtray Therapy, please email me at bobsandtraytherapy@gmail.com Thanks!

Written by

Bob utilizes his life experiences as well as professional ones to connect and assist with clients. Bob holds a Masters Degree in Social Welfare that he earned at the University of Kansas in 1979. His California License number is LCS 11087.He has been featured in The San Francisco Chronicle, The Miami Herald, The Dallas Morning News, The Hartford Courant, Natural Health Magazine, The Library Journal, Grand Magazine, Lee’s Summit Journal and Womansday.com. He is an expert on the Oprah/Dr. Oz owned Sharecare.com and he is a frequent contributor to the highly regarded Mentalhelp.net.

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