Dear Client...I Want You To Know
Written by Dr. Katherine Harris, PhD
I want you to know how much I respect and admire you for coming to therapy. Finding a therapist, navigating insurance, attending that first appointment can be really hard. Trusting me, being vulnerable, asking for help can be really scary. Being willing and open to making changes is hard...changing any behavior is a challenge. I want you to know that my clients are some of the bravest, most caring, most determined people that I know.
I want you to know that you are not alone. Millions of people suffer from mental health disorders, many of whom suffer in silence. I know it can feel like everyone else has it together, that they are cruising through life, that they’re perfect people. But they aren’t. We simply don’t talk enough with each other about our imperfections, our struggles, our mental health issues. There are so many reasons for this, but one unfortunate consequence is that many end up thinking they are the only ones with depression, with panic attacks, with intense fear of being judged.
I want you to know that you are important and that you matter and your experience matters. I know that you may not feel like you are important. I know it may even make you anxious to hear that. I believe in you, I see you, I hear you. I know the sadness, fear, loneliness, or confusion you feel can be profoundly painful.
I want you to know that sometimes I will frustrate you. That I may not answer your questions looking for advise. That I may not have all the answers or may not give you the answers. That sometimes I’ll do the opposite of what you want because I believe strongly in giving you what you need. I want you to know that I may ask you to face your fears, or make room for strong emotions, or to stop engaging in behaviors that you feel like you want or need to do. I want you to know that I can be patient and support you in your readiness for change. That I will empathize and sit with you in your discomfort or distress. That I will set boundaries and help you to do so as well.
I want you to know that we are partners, a team. That we will work together to identify your values and your goals. I want you to know that there is hope. That there are many treatments that work! That you can enjoy life again. That you don’t have to always be afraid or sad. But that sometimes you may feel afraid and sad and that’s ok too. I want you to know that I’ve seen many clients get better! That they would never have imagined what they were capable of. You can too.
I want you to know that I am honored to be a part of this journey with you. That I am grateful for the opportunity to help you, learn from you, and grow with you.