Exploring in emotional technicolor

Jack Purrington on experiencing therapy as a psychologist.

I am an assistant psychologist working for an organisation that specialises in the support of families with children who have experienced developmental trauma and attachment difficulties. Since taking this role, my professional ability has made great developments. However, I believe that my experiences of being on the other side of the therapeutic relationship have had the most profound effect.

My therapeutic journey began in supervision. Whilst exploring why I was finding certain aspects of my job more difficult than others, my supervisor helped me to look a bit further, discussing why I may behave in certain ways and make certain decisions. I found the process challenging, but incredibly insightful. These conversations continued until I was given the opportunity to work with a client on a one-to-one basis. My supervisor and I agreed that it is much more difficult to deliver something if you have never experienced it for yourself, and by the end of that supervision I had decided to start engaging in therapy. I have been receiving therapy for just over three months now, and it has already had a profound effect on both my personal and professional development.

First and foremost, attending therapy has provided me with a professional blueprint for how to provide therapeutic support for others. My experiences have had a positive influence on my own therapeutic philosophy, allowing me to access a much deeper level of empathy and understanding with clients, strengthening our relationships and the mechanism for change. Therapy has also given me a greater understanding of my own feelings and behavioural desires allowing me to more consciously consider my actions and interactions with clients, reducing risks of negative transference and countertransference during my time with them.

On a personal level, attending therapy has been the most liberating thing I have experienced. I have found myself opening up to large amounts of my emotional world which I haven’t connected with for years, with this having an incredibly enriching effect on my relationships with friends and family, and the world itself. I have also started to acknowledge and accept the emotional adversity I have experienced in my life, being able to sit with this sadness without it turning into denial, anger or frustration has been freeing and is helping me become a much more emotionally well-rounded individual.

I would recommend therapy to all practitioners engaging in therapeutic relationships, particularly young practitioners like myself. The experience has been invaluable for me, and I will forever be thankful for my supervisor for encouraging me to explore the world in emotional technicolor as opposed to the black-and-white setting I was always used to.

Jack Purrington
Huntington, York

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