So, it is usually a surprise to hear a client remark, "When you said...", or "I remember you telling me...". The therapist may, or may not, have actually uttered these remarks. What's more important is that this is what a client actually hears in session. It's not bad information, but it is information that the client has gleaned for themselves - which is one of the hallmarks of effective therapy. Now, of course, if what a client thinks they heard is way off base or detrimental to their own well-being, a therapist has an ethical responsibility to clear the air. But, more times than not, a client "hearing things" (not delusional or hallucinatory experiences) in therapy is a function of the client's own work while in therapy and is a sign of positive progress.
This is also an opportunity for the therapist to clarify, if she chooses, that this is really the client's own conclusions more than anything that was said in therapy. As a result, the client can be acknowledged for their work and encouraged to take responsibility for the awareness they are developing. This new-found insight is not due to anything a therapist has said, but by the client's own perseverance and willingness to "work their therapy".
It would be great if all therapists were magicians and could hand over the "magic wand" to clients and make everything all better, but alas, we are mere mortals without special powers or magical words. The real magic lies in each and every client who seeks out counseling for a sense of "enhanced well-being through greater self-awareness". Abracadabra, indeed.
Be kind to yourselves and to each other.
© Copyright 2017 Douglas Layer, M.A., LPCC