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Sincerity and Shipwrecks: Being Yourself in Therapy

Hi Friends!

I hope summertime is treating you well. I find that this time of year feels both slow and fast, which is an interesting phenomena and probably a great indicator of what it feels like to raise little children and age (two things I'm doing at this point in my life).

Text with 'Your Weird is Welcome Here' with flowers and pink background

Today, I wanted to breach the subject that I think often crosses people's minds when they enter into therapy, which is some variation of the thought: 'How weird can I be in here? Will my therapist 'get' it? What if they think I'm completely nuts?'

I can't speak for every counselor and therapist in the world. However, I can tell you that your worries about your weird, obsessive thoughts are common. Your fears of being 'discovered' as untreatable, unlovable, unlikeable by your therapist are fears all clients carry into the therapy room. Judging your thoughts as bad, shameful, or even sinful, is something I encounter frequently in my office with my clients.

Let me reassure you, in my practice (and in many other therapists' offices as well), your weird is welcome.

I'd like to tell you a 'weird' thing about myself. After my daughter died, I went through a stage where I was obsessed with shipwrecks. I would spend hours reading about sunken boats, and my husband could often find me in the middle of the night scrolling furiously, diving down another rabbit hole of morbid curiosity. It all started with the tragic sinking of the Ducks in Branson in 2018. For whatever strange reason, I was equal parts captivated and horrified by this news story. I read everything I could, and then, this research devolved into studying all sorts of sunken ships. I was a woman possessed.

I spoke about this compulsion to research sunken boats incessantly with colleagues. One friend pointed out the following: 'Your soul was sorting through the deep loss, missing tangible treasure, and overall reconciling of sunken dreams you had for Harper (my daughter) and for parenthood.' This seemed to resonate and comfort me. Her words welcomed the weird in me, and I felt instantly at peace. I didn't need to read another shipwreck story for many years after that.

If you are struggling with bringing your full self to therapy in true sincerity, know this: a good therapist wants to see all of you. They desire to know you at your core, and they will sit with you in your weird for as long as you need until you heal. I hope you find relationships that help you come to your oddest, sincerest, happiest version of self. You deserve this.

Take exquisite care of yourself,

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