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Before many of my clients hire me, they often set up what I call a “discovery call” (an initial consultation).
That call is where we talk about what they want to work on, how I might be able to help and if we’ll move forward to start counseling or coaching.
People come to me with their hopes, dreams and secrets. Even though it’s a 15 minute phone call, I consider it a sacred space.
I know the vulnerability they must feel telling a person they’ve “met” on the internet about things that maybe no one else in their life knows about.
Sometimes, I will hear some version of this:
“I want your help, but I’m wary of someone playing around in my head and “shrinking me” — I still want to be me.”
I’ve worked as a mental health and personal development professional for over a decade now, and I’ve also been a consumer and participant in my own growth and development.
I think I sometimes forget the stigma people still attach to reaching out to someone outside of themselves to work on their lives.
I can sometimes hear it, though, on those calls where they speak with hesitation and in hushed tones.
I know that I’m entrusted with a privilege to work with people the way that I do and I make space for their fears and concerns.
Here’s what I want people to know, though: I am not a shrink.
Most people in my profession don’t think of ourselves in that way or would refer to our work as “shrinking” the minds of our clients.
I’m not offended by it; I know it’s a way of joking about the kind of work that I do, but I also know it’s also based in the fear that someone like me will work with you and somehow “take something away” from who you are as a person — that I’ll try to whittle you down as a means of helping you heal or change.
I’m not shrinking anybody.
If anything, I am an expander.
My work with people is to help them see the expanse of possibilities in front of them — the power of their minds and the variety of choices.
I have no desire to help anyone shrink-to-fit in any way — whether it’s their potential, their lifestyle, their bodies — any of it.
If anything, I see the limitations people place on themselves and that they forget how powerful and strong they are and can continue to be.
My clients often walk in the door with smiles or or hop on the phone with readiness and anticipation about what we will learn in that hour.
That hour can lead to weeks, months, years and decades of change — there’s no shrinking to fit there.
We unpack, unwrap, take up space and let life take flight.