I am your fellow traveler. Yes, I may be your therapist. But we belong to the same road. We choose to trek the same destination. We share a common world and basic experiences along the way.
This realistic view of life influences my work and relationship to those who seek my help. The “therapist” and “patient” relationship is a human journey. So I prefer to think of my self and of my “patients” as “fellow travelers.”
As I have progressed through my own life, I realize how imperfect I am. I commit mistakes. I have my share of wounds and pains. I too find my self struggling in certain areas of my thinking, feeling, and behaving. I experience circumstances where I don’t have control, except my self. Truly, we are all in this together. And there is no therapist and no person immune to the inherent tragedies of existence.
Dr. Eric Fromm, the noted psychotherapist, often cited Terence’s statement from thousands of years ago when teaching students, “I am human and let nothing human be alien to me.” That urges me to be a “fellow traveler” to my “patients.” It opens me to that part of my self that corresponds to a wound, struggle, or fantasy offered by patients. No matter how violent, lustful, or horrific.
With that, my being a “fellow traveler” vastly enhances my ability to look out the patient’s world. And hopefully, the patient out into mine.