The holidays are truly one of the most wonderful yet most challenging times of the year for many individuals. If you’re a student, it means finals are over, you can reconnect with the family and friends who have waited patiently (hopefully) for you to emerge from your books. However, as some of you may have experienced, it can be a trying a time for our clients. The holidays often bring up memories of loss and feelings of sadness, loneliness, and depression.
I have found that while memories evoked around the holidays can be painful, working through the thick of it and providing a supportive environment to explore the loss can be extremely powerful. No one likes to hear, “It will all be okay” when struggling through a difficult time. Finding a way to acknowledge the feelings (positive or negative) and forming a meaningful relationship in session can be the ticket to lifting a client’s spirits. It’s your ability to connect that makes you important, not your ability to wash away pain.
Much like they tell you on an airplane, you must put the mask to your face before you attempt to help the person next to you. In other words, take some time for yourself this holiday to reflect on the people and tangible goodies that make it worth your while to get up and go in the morning. What moves you? What makes you smile? If you can find these things for yourself, you will be more adept at navigating a client through the same process of identifying, feeling and connecting.