Being a therapist, you’re being hired by the hour. You’re helping people, but at the same time you’re holding people’s innermost secrets. You’re somewhere between a priest and a prostitute.” ~ Dr. Greg Cason, from the Bravo show L.A. Shrinks
This quote really resonates with me because my clients are often surprised by how free they feel to express themselves during a coaching session. They often express themselves without inhibition, and are amazed at their candor, saying things like, “I’ve said things to you I’ve never said on my knees to the Great Almighty.” I take this as a sign that I’m doing my job well. I want clients to know they are absolutely safe, and free from the judgment so often heaped on them by society, family members, religious organizations and spouses.
Human beings cannot grow in an atmosphere of shame, blame or judgment. In fact, the simple act of listening without judging is probably the most effective therapy tool of all. The practice of coaching founds itself on the idea that people can heal themselves if they only have a still, present partner acting as a clear mirror.
The archetype of the priest is someone who will let you confess your sins, absolve you of guilt, and compel you to change your ways, so you can go on to live a more spiritually-centered life.
The archetype of the prostitute is someone who is all-accepting–someone who will take you in and wrap you up in her arms, no matter who you are.
Both of these archetypes–the priest and the prostitute–have much in common with the professions of therapist, coach and counselor. It is our job to take you in, warts and all, and show you yourself in a mirror clear of judgment, anxiety, worry and blame. That’s the magic of the therapeutic process. You do the healing, we, as therapists, priests and prostitutes, only do the holding.
It’s a very warm, very spiritual, and very beautiful process. And it feel sacred to those of us who are gifted with your trust.