A good friend of mine has a diagnosis of depression. I have no quarrel with this diagnosis or its validity.

This diagnosis has meant that over the years my friend has been to many kinds of psychotherapy from somewhat radical community based groups to your standard shrink (psychiatrist). This post has been prompted by their experience.

I’m not trying to paint all therapy or shrinks as bad. In any field some people will be better than others. In a field as big as psychotherapy there will be the full range of skill from the truly great to the abysmal. This isn’t surprising and this is not what I want to talk about.

What I want to talk about here is that clients don’t get much of a look in.

I recently did an online search for reflections on the process of therapy. Of the many thousands of hits there were only a half dozen or so that included the perspective of the client.

It is natural that the workers in a field develop jargon and speak to each other. The industry codes of practice and the rules of the journals all encourage this. To me it was how very little the voice of client’s was included that was surprising.

I found the silence quite deafening, so to speak.

It also pointed up I think the gap between the rhetoric of professionalism (acting in the client’s interest rather than the professionals) and its practice.

What I would like to hear is the client’s experience. Not just their judgements – whether the process had good or bad results – but what it is actually like to be with a counselor, what is it actually like to do counseling for a client. I expect the results would be vast, diverse and rich. So if you would like to post and let me know (feel free to be anonymous) I’d love to hear from you.

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