We all could learn something from just about anyone, but traditionally speaking, a therapist usually teaches their patients about how to cope with life.
But it’s always fun to “turn the tables” in any situation, so here are things that therapists learned from their patients over the years.
Just today someone said to me, “I tell myself all the time ‘if I can stay sober for the next 30 minutes I’m going to make it’. Sometimes I have to tell myself that more than once, but I make it every time”.
It really got to me today, that little saying has so much meaning behind it for so many things. It put in perspective for me that dealing with certain issues is a minute by minute thing, but I can make it no matter what.
In general – that humans can experience an incredible amount of trauma, loss, overall suffering and not only continue to exist, but continue to find meaning and even contentment in their lives. It’s helped me to re-frame my own trauma in a more helpful way and also made me less fearful of what my future may hold – recognizing that we can tolerate much, much more than we think we can.
use to work with kids with mental health problem. The thing that as stick with me the most was what a teenager with autism once said to me : “Sometime i feel really bad because the weather man on tv tell me it’ll rain tomorrow and most of the time he’s right but sometime he’s wrong and it’s sunny. I guess it must be the same for mom and the doctor”. It changed a lot in the way i’ve lived my life
Not a therapist but a guy at AA, after being called an idiot, said “hey fella, just cuz I don’t know the steps to your dance, doesn’t mean I don’t got rhythm”.
When talking about two people being in a relationship, a child I was working with described it as 1+1=2. Changed the perspective of “my other half” or looking at two people in a relationship as whole. I know use two distinct wholes (1 person), who choose to come together as two.
I’m a mental health therapist in a high school. One of my clients has CP and has almost no mobility. She taught me to stop treating doing things for myself as a chore (making a meal, exercise, housework etc) because I’m lucky that my body allows me to take care of myself.
Something I inadvertently taught my therapist is when I’m really struggling to start my day, I divide it up into “quest objectives” ala video games. ie “Shower, Breakfast and dress” “Get to work on time” “Complete at least three briefs today” and so on and so forth. It really helps me set short term goals for getting through the day.
She told me she has subsequently used this method with other clients and it’s worked well.
I’m a therapist in a psychiatric hospital and my patients have taught me how thin the line is between being mentally healthy and ill. Many of my patients were healthy and high functioning until one event happened to them. That could be anyone. We are all just one incident away from being permanently ill. I am grateful and humbled by the tenacity of my patients, and for each day I am healthy.
I work with college students (freshman all the way through final years of PhD programs, med school, etc.) I’m amazed by their constant desire for knowledge.
18yo and 40yo, it doesn’t matter. There is an information lust in all of them. It makes me more passionate about my field and I go to trainings and conferences thrilled to learn thanks to them. It’s incredible. The difference in my mental state from working outpatient to working exclusively with the student population is amazing. They’ve saved my career.
Speech therapist so not a psych. But did learn sometimes the things that worry you as a therapist, dont worry the client, and if they’re not worried you shouldn’t be worried because you’re there to help them, not impose on them.
I was the patient but during an early session I mentioned the Chaplin quote “A day without laughter is a day wasted.” And my therapist had never heard that before and said they were going to use that. I saw it as a quote hanging on their wall soon thereafter
This week I had a client in group tell me that a way she began to improve her self-esteem is to playfully wink at herself in the mirror every morning. Simple, yet effective, I guess.
How to let go, over and over again, of people I care about. So many years of intensely relating, and giving, and letting go. I treasure the gift of being in the place to learn that lesson. It has helped me be a better friend and family member to not hold on so tight.
Without exception I learn from every single one of my clients. I’ve learned that 12-year-olds can think and talk with the wisdom of an 80-year-old and you can be in your 60s and have lived with stunting trauma for decades. I’ve learned that life can beat someone every which way and give them the shittiest deck of cards and they still find things that make them smile.
By far though, the number one thing I’ve learned that clients across demographics including religion, nationality,
s.e.s., age and gender desire is connection, which usually boils down to being seen, heard, validated and understood. It is a universal need and/or want to feel connected (yes, even you, self-proclaimed ultra introvert who never needed nobody)
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