I'm a Little Teapot
Short and Stout, Yep.
My experience as a novice therapist can sometimes feel like a tug-of-war.
Own my personality vs. Market to the masses.
Work with couples vs. Work with trauma.
Train for a specialty vs. Take time to explore.
Be a savvy professional vs. Practice self-care.
In the heavier times, it can feel like:
Be a good mom vs. Be a good therapist.
Be a good wife vs. Be a good therapist.
Be authentic vs… Be a good therapist.
None of this is fair, none of this is necessarily true, but the feelings tug at me all the same. I'm still trying to get my footing here, and I think that's normal. But as I find what works for me, my life, and my work- I am settling into the fact that I am not, and cannot be, everyone's cup of tea.
I curse, a lot.
I laugh in therapy.
I share stories when appropriate.
I admit that I'm wrong easily 50% of the time.
I decorated my office in unapologetic pink.
I stand in allyship with queer folk, and oppressed folk, and neurodivergent folk.
I attend church, and I pole dance, and I'm a mom, and I'm a writer.
I am a strong cup of Earl Grey tea, and some may find me abrasive.
And in contrast to what some people may believe, that shit matters. Who I am, what I believe, and how I think is bound to show up in the room. I want you to know and trust that you are safe with me, and that means letting you see the real me (within reason).
What I am learning, which can only be learned by experience, is that some clients need me with cream. Some with honey. Some cooled down. Learning how to adapt, learn, and present myself in the way that each client needs is something that I think will be a lifelong journey for me.
And here's why:
Every. Single. One. of my clients need a different version of me. Depending on the day and the challenge at hand, figuring out how to show up for my clients can be so challenging, and so rewarding.
But Ashley, doesn't that make you fake? Aren't you just pretending?
My job is to assess the situation, be attuned to needs, and facilitate healing.
A rape survivor does not need the same version of me as a teenager deciding which college to attend.
I am still Earl Grey.
Sometimes though, my clients need a little honey and cream.