How often have I heard from clients, “I just want to make sure that I am making the right choice”. It can be anything from which route to take to get home to whether or not to end a marriage, which new therapeutic tool to use in a tough situation or how to discipline a child. Sometimes I get questions about which therapeutic methods I use, in order for the potential client to make a decision as to whether or not I am the “right” choice.
The thing with choices, though, is that there are so many rights. There are always multiple possibilities that can all, in their own ways, be considered “right”. But at the end of everything, all that truly matters is that we first have a goal, one as specific as possible, which helps determine what choices make the most sense, which one feels better (if not exactly right), according to the stated goal.
Regarding the choices I make to assist clients in reaching their goals, it is far less important which method of therapy I use, but much more reliant on the relationship we create together and how well supported the client feels in my ability and commitment towards helping them achieve their goals. Good therapeutic outcomes come from trust and shared vulnerability, which interestingly in many instances may not feel “right”.
Recently the offices of MFT3 have been flooded with new client calls and I always find this a tricky situation. Personally, I am continually flattered when a stranger chooses me as their service provider and I make it my goal to be the best therapist I can possibly be for them. But in situations like I am in now, with a full case load and a growing wait list, I struggle internally with what is the “right” choice – both for me, for the potential new client and for my current roster of clients.
My choices change depending on which lens I look through. In one lens, it is right for me to fit in as many people as I can, it’s good business. It’s also right that I honor the choice that this other person has made so it’s right for me to try and fit them in asap. But through another lens, the one of me as a person outside of this office, my choices are strikingly different. The right choice as a wife/family member/friend is to not take too many clients so I can go home at a reasonable hour each day and enjoy that part of my life. And then through the lens of my current client roster, it’s right for me to not take the new client because that may tip the scale to where it burns me out to the point that I am no good for anyone, old and new clients, and even my home life as well.
The right choice is typically the one that offers us the most balance in our complete lives, not just through one lens of our lives.
Maybe the new influx of inquiries have stumbled upon my old post, Summertime Therapy, and are looking to get in when rosters tend to be lighter. Let’s all cross our fingers that the balance we all strive for I can keep and also can fit in as many clients as possible. Have a great 4th everyone!