A friend asked me the other day if I had ever felt overwhelmed when meeting a client for the first time and hearing their ‘story’ or the reasons why they were seeking support.

Honestly, overwhelmed, no. In awe, deeply honoured and humbled….yes.

When someone shares their story and you are left thinking, ‘Yes. I get it. I totally understand why you feel hopeless, like you can’t catch a break. You’ve been in survival mode for years so of course you haven’t had space to heal.’ there is only one thing I find helpful. I have to hold space for a different reality for them. I have to see them, see their pain, witness it with them and honour them as they experience it, and simultaneously remember the truth of who they are.

We are not born to suffer. We all have peace and love and light within us (including you – you ARE light. You ARE love). It is my job to see that in my clients when they can’t see it in themselves, just as therapists, friends and family have done for me at various points in time.

A Course in Miracles has a whole section on ‘true empathy’ where it basically says that supporting someone’s painful reality only perpetuates their pain. That’s not to say I don’t feel for my clients, friends or loved ones when they’re in pain, but it means that I try keep in my mind the love and light they are, and remind them of how incredible they are, whilst supporting them in their current position.

If you feel hopeless, there is often a point of surrender that comes in. This is not giving up, nor is it trying to control, but simply an acceptance of what is, with a faith that something will move if you stop trying to hold on for dear life.

It is (often but not always) realising that what you’ve been doing has felt hard and painful and there must be a better way. Be open to the possibility that you were wrong before, and that maybe there’s another way, and that you’d be open to being wrong or seeing things differently if that meant feeling better.