Reader asks if I am really “so tough” as a therapist……!!

by Rod Smith

“Sometimes you tell people to grow up,” she wrote, “I‘m afraid to come to you for help for fear that you’d turf me out the door and tell me to grow up. Are you really so tough? Is it just to attract readers?”

Take up your life....

Take up your life....

I have never been deliberately tough believing it would increase my readership. Good counsel challenges people to extend their repertoire of healthy behavior. As tough as you perceive me to be, I will never deny you the experience of telling me about your life, its hardships, and your aspirations for the future, as long as doing so will prove to be helpful to you, and helpful to the process of therapy.

The therapist who encourages a client to vent his or her pain without challenging the client to action, in my opinion, does little for anyone. Insight must be coupled with action to ignite growth and stimulate change. If you want safety, risk-free living, and someone to soothe away the pain of your life without also at some point also challenging you, then you might feel afraid to visit me and you might want to go elsewhere. But I will first listen to you. Then I will challenge you to healthier relationships and a “leap before you look” lifestyle.

Maturity demands action. If I am tough about anything (and I am also tough on myself) I am tough with people who want their lives to improve without the slightest effort on their part. To them I say, “Grow Up!”

2 Comments to “Reader asks if I am really “so tough” as a therapist……!!”

  1. i think you should be just a little more sincere towards other people… maybe they are young or young at heart and they are confused and that need help… not criticism… everyone wants a healthy relationship… for example, mine… i am a very jealous person and I might get help if I can’t get over it… but believe me if you told me to grow up… i would probably want to jump out of my chair and hit you… I am still a teenager, youngster, and I am learning and I would be trying to get help from you… I wouldn’t pay someone to hear them tell me to grow up… i know i have to grow up with jealousy and I’m really trying and the last thing someone needs during a hard time is criticism… it would just make them even more frustrated… i think maybe you should be just a little more considerate and try to use other words than grow up… i’m sorry if that was blunt and i hope you got what your looking for…

  2. Dear Confuddled:

    Thanks for your response. I’d be very gentle with you as I am with all my clents.

    After consulting with me you’d probably be very motivated to “grow up” if I say it or not.

    You’d be paying me to help you get better at all of your life — and jealousy is just ONE symptom of misunderstanding how relationhips best work.

    Please write again — you are a sharp and challenging thinker.

    Rod Smith

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