Dear Client: This is What I See

Dear client,

I wish you could see yourself from my perspective for even just a moment. I truly believe you would be amazed by what I see through my lens. I’m going to share with you a bit of what I get to see as your therapist, and while it may be hard to belief, I promise this letter comes from a place of authenticity and care. This is my truth, even if it isn’t yours.

You see, we come to therapy with a limited view of ourselves – and there are many reasons for this. First, it is so much harder to see something with perspective when we are inside it. To see how vast an ocean is, you need to be high above it and farther away. We also develop protections that keep us focused on old narratives (ie the stories about how unworthy we are) – and while these protections are often there for a good reason and help us manage in the best way we can, they also cloud our ability to see our strength, resilience, hope, and growth.

So let me tell you, dear client, what I see as we work together:

I see the courage it takes to reach out and make that first appointment. I see the anxiety and fear that it brings up, and the hope that can feel so dangerous at times. I see the power within you as you dare to be brave enough to say “I need help, and I need it now.” I see even more courage come through as you’re willing to sort through what is happening, tell me the hardest struggles you’re dealing with, and define a new reality you’d like to see happen. We don’t talk about this enough – but hoping and setting goals are HARD when life is such a struggle. To even attempt it takes courage.

I see your willingness to trust me, and your ability to set boundaries in those moments you don’t trust me fully with some of your story. Both are such beautiful experiences to witness. Those moments when tears come up for the first time, I know it is so easy to judge yourself, and feel “weak” or “dramatic”. But I know even while it’s happening, that true courage comes out when our gloves come off and we are willing to sit with another person, take down our walls, and show our pain. You probably have no idea how strong you are in those moments, and how in awe I am of your willingness to show up with me. I am so grateful for every time you’ve given me the gift of sharing your tears.

I see your growth before you get a chance to, and I wish sometimes that you could see how much you’re truly changing in those moments when it doesn’t feel enough. Because I have only a small window in your life, and I know the signs to look for, I’m able to see just how much your effort is paying off, even while it feels frustrating and slow at times. I hope you know that when you’ve just made a huge step forward and aren’t ready to see the positives in it yet, that I celebrate quietly for you – that I honour all the progress I see, even if you don’t see me doing so. There have been days that I’ve ended a session, and done an actual happy dance in my office, knowing you are not ready to celebrate yet, but also knowing you will be one day.

I see your struggles with more clarity than I’m sure you realize. I see the size and the impact of the traumas you’ve been through, and I see the impact of everyday hurts as well. I see the impact that racism, homophobia, ableism, fatphobia, and all forms of discrimination have on your waking life – and I see the warrior inside you that braves the onslaught of these on a day-to-day basis. Your survival and existence in the face of everything you have survived and continue to live through is radical as f*ck. And I wish, for just a moment, that you could see how you being here, existing, is enough. I see the magnitude of what you live though, and I see how much bigger your essence and your spirit are, even when it feels like they are hard to see or find. In your darkest and hardest moments, I still see them, and they are beautiful.

I see your heart and your worth in ways that would shock you. I see the kindness seeping out of you, and the validity of your feelings. I ache sometimes when I hear how you describe yourself and your progress, and yet I also see how the negative self talk is helping you get through the moment you’re in. I hold space for you in those moments, and while I might challenge some of your self-talk, I hold absolutely no judgement for them. I know that sometimes judging ourselves harshly is the very best we can do to cope with very big and painful experiences. I also know that as we work together, that dialogue will change – and I’m excited for those moments when I will hear you being gentle with yourself.

I see you in your pain, and I see that you are so much more than what hurts you. I see your sense of humour and your coping, I see your values and your interests, I see your personality shine through, even while we talk about really hard things. You, as you are, are so worthy and so enough, and so incredibly brilliant (and for those who are pretending this isn’t meant for you – I am definitely meaning you here!). When I think of you, it’s YOU I think of first, even when our conversation focuses on the struggles and pain so often.  I’m honoured to be invited into your heart space and given a front row seat in your journey. Watching your face your challenges and emotions inspires me in more ways than you may realize.

For what it’s worth, I consider myself incredibly privileged to be able to do heart work with so many amazing individuals.

With sincere gratitude,


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