I often have the opportunity to learn from my clients and recently I had
another such moment. She came to me feeling very disturbed by what she
termed "freedom of ignorance", or the tendency in others to assume they
understand her situation; so much so that they dared to offer her
solutions to her problems. As she went on I couldn't help but think that
the phrase would make a great title for a book or article.
As easy as it is to understand my client's complaint, it's just as easy
to understand the motive of the person offering their unsolicited
opinion. How freeing to offer up one's "off the top of my head" solution
to their predicament. Ah, but later – having listened more, researched
more, thought more – I can better understand that client's "dance
through life" and I'm embarrassed . Exercising one's right to free
speech needn't be an embarrassment though, as long we remember to give
two gifts, one to my client and one to myself.
The gift to another is giving them the sense that you've listened, that
they've been heard, and that they're worthy of being heard. Bestowing
that feeling of having been heard upon another is among the greatest of
gifts we, as therapists, give. As no two humans are exactly alike, we
are all outliers. To understand is not always easy, but speakers like
those offered by IE-CAMFT can make it easier.
Now, the gift to myself is education. Once again, the monthly IE-CAMFT
training/CEU opportunities make that easy. The speakers provide context
on a variety of subjects, and presenters become resources from whom to
learn more in the future. The effect, if successful, means the
difference between feeling embarrassed by my own ignorance or knowing
that I got it, or at least I'm getting it. What prevents me from getting
it is not what I don't know, rather it is being cavalier about my own
I love being part of IE-CAMFT. I'm glad to be a part of the bigger picture. It keeps me hopeful.
Paul Velen, MS, LMFT IE-CAMFT President-Elect
Welcome New and Returning Members!
Thank you for renewing!
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