You know, I think one of the most important factors (of mental health and our clinical work) that we don’t talk about often enough, is gratitude. I think every session that I do these days, at the end of the session, I thank my client for spending time with me, for going through the process with me, for trusting me, for answering really hard and uncomfortable questions. Because I realize what a privilege it is to be able to work with clients and be invited into people’s lives in their most troubling moments.
I think gratitude is a game changer clinically, and think it’s a game changer in your personal life.
You guys have probably never seen me sit down doing my SFBT Moments videos. I’ve been doing these videos, I think this is episode, 300 and whatever. And I don’t know if I’ve ever done one sitting on a couch, but one of the reasons I’m doing this is because I’m tired, I’m actually physically tired. I’ve been recording all day, we’re getting ready for a massive event and it required me to record all day.
Leading up to this, I knew it was gonna be a lot of work. And I knew it was gonna be a monumental task and challenge and very short notice. Literally like two days ago. I called Adam who is a massive planner and he’s got a wife and three kids. And the three kids are active and they’re at that age where every single night they gotta be in three different places. And I call him, I’m like, “Hey man, I need your help. We have to do this thing. It’s gonna be really cool, getting ready for this massive event, and all of the recording’s gonna be a lot. Can you come help me do it?” And Adam, who is also sitting down and also tired, woke up at three this morning, got on a plane, flew here, and helped carry the load. And I’m so deeply grateful.
I share this with you for two reasons. Number one, I think it’s so easy to be jaded as a psychotherapist, and I know psychotherapists that get frustrated and angry with their clients. And I think you need to find a way to show up with gratitude. Now I’m not saying your clients are behaving perfectly, I’m not saying they’re right. I’m just saying it is such an honor to be in this space with people, and I think acknowledging that more often actually enhances your clinical ability. I think I’ve become a better clinician the more at the end of sessions, instead of giving homework and tasks, I just express how grateful I am. And I’m genuinely grateful. These people trusted me. They’re willing to spend time with me. They’re willing to give me money in order to deliver this service. It is a massive compliment.
And it also helps in my personal life cuz I get to thank you (Dr. Adam Froerer) for taking my call. And I know that you would’ve rather have known about this flight three months ago so you could prepare life. But kind of last minute you were able to come through, and this was a tiring day, but significantly less tiring than it would’ve been if I were doing it on my own. And I got to do it with my best friends. It was also enjoyable. There’s a lot of laughter as we did these things and there was a lot of ideas being shared. It was just different. So, thank you. And being in a space of gratitude is just so good for your mental health and so good for your clinical work.
(Dr. Adam Froerer) Yeah, I think, well I guess I have to say thank you cuz normally I do not appear on these. Thanks for letting me invade your space. But I think you’re right. I think living a life of gratitude makes things worth it, right? You mentioned I got up this morning at three o’clock in the morning, I flew here. What he didn’t mention is I’m leaving at three o’clock in the morning to go home because I can’t stay here longer than 24 hours. I gotta go home and do my other stuff.
But gratitude makes this worth it, right? When you enter into a grateful space, it immediately fills you up. It immediately binds you together. It immediately makes it worth it. And, I think that’s the other thing is that when you’re connected to somebody meaningful, it’s not just in a work realm. I’m not doing this just because we work together. But it bleeds over into our personal lives and we’re invested in each other’s lives. And so if Elliot called me and said, “Hey, I’m going through something personally, could you come and help me?” I would get on the same airplane and I would come, because it’s a meaningful thing.
And so I think gratitude, when we focus on things to be grateful for, we find that the reasons grow and spread to other things. I love what you said about working with clients. When you enter into that relationship with them in a grateful way, you’re gonna find so many more reasons to be grateful for them, and for the things that they’re sharing with you, and the things that you learn from them. Instead of getting burned out, you’re just gonna be filled up with gratitude.
(Elliott Connie) So, the lesson for today is have gratitude in your clinical practice. It will be good for you and your clients. And have gratitude in your personal life, because it’ll be good for your mental health and the mental health of the people around you.