Going Up To The Edge
I hear so many therapists describe themselves as empaths, and honestly, thank goodness! If there is one field that needs empaths this is the one. I also see and hear how hard it can be for those who strongly identify as an empath when working in this field. We know self-care strategies, good consultation, a core community group of other like-minded therapists, and our own really good therapy can help ease the intensity of the feelings that set in for empaths.
Empaths are great at sensing and feeling other’s experiences, AND the other side of that is it can often feel as though it is their own experience. So how do we separate? In EMDR speak, how do we keep one foot in and one foot out? Perhaps a mantra that says something like, “Even though I can deeply feel this person’s experience I am also holding that I don’t have to make it my experience.”
Abby and I just recently recorded episode 16 where we talk about this, and we found ourselves exploring “going up to the edge.” Our job is step up to the edge with the client, support them from falling over, and if they have already fallen over our job is to still stay at the edge and support them in getting back up. We were told of a lovely video that truly depicts what we found ourselves discussing. Here in this video the dirt betrayed an elephant, and the elephant was stuck. It seems almost impossible to find a way to get the elephant out of such a deep hole, but then the dirt that betrayed the elephant ends up being what saved it.
Often our clients come to us because relationships have betrayed them, but through our ability to stay at the edge instead of going over it with them we show them that relationships can also save us, just as the dirt betrayed and saved the elephant.