Welcome Part II
Welcome back! Now that my professional introduction is done, here’s what else I envision for this place of mine in this cyber world: Much like my approach with my clients, I’m quite transparent and I believe it is helpful to speak from not only my professional and academic experiences, but also my personal ones. Though, may I add, I do carefully choose when I speak from my personal experiences as the last thing I would want to do is make your time to be about me. Yet, I would be lying if I tried to portray my work, my perspective, and the guidance I offer to you and others as if none of them were influenced by my own life. This is something people in my field call countertransference.
Some clinicians treat countertransference as taboo, as something that is terrible if you experience it while you are working with someone. The thing is, it is constantly happening. Counselors are human too: We are going to have personal reactions to what we hear and see, and those personal reactions are influenced by our past, our culture, our beliefs, our values, and what we’re currently struggling with ourselves. What can make countertransference bad is what we do with it, i.e., ignore it, project it onto you, or let it cloud our judgment or presence during session. This also means that what we do with countertransference can be powerful in a very effective, helpful way to you, i.e., increase our insight, our empathy, or our understanding of your issues. I won’t go into more details as to how, but just know that we know it exists and hopefully the clinician you’re seeing or will see knows how to use it.
This doesn’t mean that you need to see a therapist who has had very similar experiences to you. Though this can be helpful, if this countertransference isn’t handled well, it could also get in the way. Advice giving in general, in my opinion, is to be avoided as a therapist because it can put a strain in the therapist-client relationship in a couple of ways.
Think of times people have you given you advice, I’m sure it’s happened from people you believe are like you and people that you believe aren’t. Have those all been positive experiences? Did they always seem wise and like they knew better? I’m going to guess that your answer was “no.” Sometimes when people take advice and it goes well, they can become somewhat dependent upon the person who gave them that advice; therefore, how much they trust their own judgment could be negatively impacted. On the other hand, when some people take advice and it doesn’t go well, their trust of the advice giver’s judgment could be negatively impacted. Both are rather understandable responses, and ones that I want to avoid. I may have very similar experiences to you, but I am not you and you are not me. So, my job is to be a mirror for you, to help you figure out what you want and need, and how you want to achieve that. A mirror isn’t showing you an image because it can always relate to you, it’s showing you an image because it can reflect back to you what it sees.
*By the way, advice giving is not the same as educating someone or offering professional recommendations, which any therapist can and most likely will do.
Nonetheless, some people find comfort in knowing some personal details about their therapist; though, not all therapists will be comfortable or think it’s beneficial for you to know some personal details about themselves. If you are the type of person that doesn’t care to know anything personal about clinicians, then I recommend stopping reading this particular entry—though I do hope you come back to read another entry later
So, with all that said, let me end this entry by introducing myself to you on a more personal level, (remember that distinguishment from Welcome Part I?) My name is Ginger Klee and I am a half Korean, half Caucasian lesbian woman from a blended family. I have influences from spending 12 years of my childhood in Tennessee and Kentucky, though I have spent most of my life living in Southern California. I have had obstacles in my life that led me to pursue participating in therapy, and those obstacles also influenced my decision to become a therapist. I have a passion for cooking (and eating,) singing, creative writing, swimming, and learning.
Lastly, what I just shared with you, though are parts of who I am, do not define who I am. They are parts of my identity, and will likely influence what I will share with you in regards to therapy, how to pursue personal growth, work on change, and those of you who are interested in pursuing self-actualization, and much more.