The myths and lies we tell ourselves affect us in many more ways than initially meet the eye. The process of discerning my Ideal Client has pointed some of those out to me along the way.
The biggest take-away I’ve gleaned from this journey is that >> I << am the only one who matters in this equation! Not from an egotistical standpoint but from a quality of delivery standpoint.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been exploring this topic and there were two pillars that really stood out as significant in my journey. First, in my master’s program for Clinical Mental Health they made it abundantly clear that we “must” agree to work with “any” client unless we were not competent to do so.
For example, in addition to the basic Counseling training we all received, I have picked up some additional training along the way in order to increase my competence in the area of addressing Trauma and PTSD specifically. My 20 years of experience with Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT or Tapping) has certainly added to that competence as has other “healing modality” trainings I’ve had over the years.
The Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy training class clearly showed me why I DO NOT want to use those techniques with clients when I have much faster, gentler, and more effective interventions available to me like EFT. As much as any class in my master’s program, that one showed me how screwed up and buried in accepting poor results as the norm the Mental Health Industry actually is right now. There are some bright spots, but overall, it is my opinion that traditional mental health therapy is relatively ineffective when compared to what it could be by adopting newer, and “more modern” approaches and interventions.
When it comes to helping people to heal from traumatic experiences Clinical Emotional Freedom Techniques (Clinical EFT) is among the most effective at providing rapid relief for clients. EMDR is another trauma relief therapy that appears to be quite effective. I am not (currently) trained in EMDR. I worked with a therapist to try out EMDR as a client and wasn’t particularly impressed…likely because I didn’t have any traumatic content to address through EMDR. So, I don’t hold my experience “against it” so to speak.
While I understand that as a licensed mental health counselor, my industry expected ethics says that I need to work with anyone I’m competent to work with. What I know is that I do MUCH better work in my areas of specialty, and interest. I also work much better with clients with whom I “resonate.” However, as I understand the ethical considerations, “not resonating” is not a sufficient reason to suggest a client move to a different therapist.
This is one of the considerations which is leading me to strongly consider shifting from putting myself out there as a Licensed Mental Health Therapist, to working as a Coach.
There are several advantages to working as a “coach” rather than a Licensed Therapist. First, since coaching isn’t a (state) licensed profession, I can work with anyone, not just people in Washington State. Second, >> I << get to choose which clients I want to work with without running amok of any counseling industry ethical considerations.
This is particularly attractive to me in this post-trump era. Unfortunately, I’ve watched some of my friends who were “mildly republican” as far as I can tell, become full on conspiracy theorists and bigots, who have abandoned common decency in favor of “because it benefits me more this way, even if it means that I’m lying, and I admit that I hope I don’t get caught.”
I’ve also run into more very vocal, uneducated, and down-right science ignorant people who are espousing conspiracy theory crap that is blatantly false to anyone who has a science background or a college degree that included ANY level of critical thinking training. They aren’t worth bothering with and attempting to bring back to the world of science and facts.
Those are the kind of people I don’t want to associate with or work with in a professional capacity, let alone a therapeutic capacity. I seriously wonder if many (most?) of them CAN be helped, or if they are so far down that path that it’s unlikely they will be able to return. In any case, I’m not interested in working with them, voluntarily, or by “ethical force.”
My ideal client is a college graduate, has accumulated sufficient wealth and income to pay me very well for my services, and is a “non-republican,” who does not believe in conspiracy theories, and does not support the general “bad behavior” which as become far too acceptable in the USA today.
That is why I will very likely be moving away from “licensed counseling” and toward coaching my ideal client using many of the things I’ve learned and used as a counselor. I’m going to need to clearly understand where “counseling” ends, and “coaching” begins from a state license and regulation perspective. I have no desire to run amok…any more than I possibly already have by publishing this opinion piece.
You’re welcome to leave a comment below. They are moderated and must be approved before they are displayed. I’m going to be reading each one before approving them. In reality, I doubt that this will be an issue because no one has left a comment yet in the last 20 days of this 21-day publishing challenge. Yup, not even a spam comment wanting to sell you viagra!
(BTW, I did choose not to publish some of what I’d written for this post. While it was great to get it “all out on to paper” so that I could vomit the ranting that has been pent up inside of me about some things, cooler heads prevailed and those rantings haven’t been shared. I’m tired. I haven’t proof read this. It is what it is. I’m done with it for now.)