Therapy Watch: To Serve and Reflect

Therapists earn a living opening up others' eyes, but sometimes the enlightenment occurs on the other side of the couch. Several members of Psychology Today's Therapy Directory (psychologytoday.com) share what they've learned from clients.

Therapist couch

Accepting the Unexpected

"As a child, I was told it's important to 'tolerate' differences. My clients taught me that 'tolerance' isn't enough. No one wants to bemerely tolerated, like a wart on your face. They want to be acknowledged, valued, and celebrated. To do that, we must fight a feeling of 'rightness' toward our own upbringing, culture, and experience." —Art Matthews, Mesa, Arizona

Crash Course

"On a practical level, I have heard about topics ranging from laying polymer floor covering to creating stained glass projects to building a tree house. For me, there is joy in finding out about subjects that would never cross my mind otherwise." —Julia Fanning, West Dundee, Illinois

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Missed Connection

"Years ago, I had a client whom I found hostile yet charming. I had to monitor my own feelings in order to uncover the rage and distrust underpinning his predatory behavior. Afterward, I examined my own unresolved issues with intimacy and connection, and even opened myself up to a loving relationship with a man I had been dating." —Sheri Heller, New York, New York

FYI: X.Y.Z.

"I once learned to check my zipper before I come out of the bathroom!" —Mark Littman, Newton, New Jersey

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