What’s it Like Being a (fill in the blank)?

…Psychotherapist, Writing Coach, Shamanistic Healer, or (fill in the blank)? What goes on behind the eyes of a health practitioner? What thoughts whirl around the inside of the mind?

Often, when we can’t relate to something someone does, the mystery can be disconcerting and we may feel self conscious. It can also be intriguing if we are open to the unknown. But shedding light on some of the obscurity can put us at ease, and we might feel a little wiser, a little less mesmerized by that which seems so unfamiliar.

I’m a writer, photographer and writing coach. I can tell you what it’s like to be any one of these things from my perspective, but I have no clue what it’s like being a psychotherapist or hypnotist. Because of what I do, I’m in my head a lot – feelings, impressions and ideas lead to thoughts, words and images – which then often lead back to ideas, impressions and feelings.

When I’m helping someone else write a book or any sort of writing project, however, while I’m still thinking, I’m not as much in my own head as I am trying to be in theirs. And as long as they are open to sharing their experiences with me, it’s a fun challenge putting myself in someone else’s world. Usually, I learn something about people in general that I never knew. Usually, I also learn things that we have in common. Therefore, by sharing feelings, thoughts, ideas, words and images with one another, something that once seemed to escape my comprehension is now within my grasp and something that seemed foreign is now comfortably close. Understanding others in turn makes me a better writer. But perhaps more importantly, the gap between me and the rest of the world narrows.

In essence, by helping others understand and express themselves, I better understand and express myself. I don’t see myself as the ‘expert’ and my clients as ‘students’. We all have something to teach each other, something for show and tell, and something to learn from our peers. Sometimes, it is simply my perspective that can help open someone else up to a broader reality that has more potential than the one before. And then I offer suggestions for practice which can help them remain in that space.

In order to write or help others write I have to open myself up. That can be a vulnerable place for anyone. But if we all come to the table with honest and good intentions, we’ll all leave with more of the good stuff, and more to offer others.

What’s it like writing? Exhilarating, laborious, inspiring, comforting, confusing and almost always enlightening. What’s it like helping others tell their story? Exhilarating, laborious, inspiring, comforting, confusing and almost always enlightening. One way or another, I always come away better for the wear. If we’ve opened ourselves up at all, we can’t help but to have learned something. And then we’re in a slightly different place than we were before.