Last week I had an introductory meeting with a client. She was punctual, as most teachers tend to be. I met her in the lobby, we shook hands and walked to my office. She was carrying a large side bag and a small pocket book. She seemed nervous.
We sat down at a round table and she began to unpack the contents of the large bag and put them on the table. We exchanged small talk as she sat tense, talking about the summer, vacations, and our kids. I got the impression she would hide behind the small talk for the remainder of the meeting if she could.
She then leaned forward, organizing the folders and papers in front of her and said to me, “I feel like I’m at Confession”. We laughed and I assured her that it would all be ok.
We spoke for over two hours. She did most of the talking. Somewhere during the conversation she paused and said, “This is more like a therapy session”. I told her in many regards it’s very similar. We talked about goals, wishes, fears and dreams. As the conversation progressed, I could almost see the weight being lifted from her shoulders.
By the end of the meeting, she almost seemed like a different person. I asked how she felt. I already knew the answer- she felt great. We did not talk about solutions- we did not come up with any plans. All of her problems remained, but she said she felt cleansed and had a clearer picture.
What happened is she got all the things that have been building up in her mind and all the burden weighing on her shoulders and put it on the table. We now share her burdens, her hopes and fears.
I assured her this would happen in an email several weeks ago.
She left my office with pep in her step and a clear mind. It was only the start, but sometimes starting is the hardest part of the process.
Now that she has shared her troubles, together we can find the solutions.