Monday, August 10, 2015
Vulnerability-definition: not something that Rayna Goldsmith has been very good at showing in the past; a reality that has struck me many times over the course of this trip. That’s not necessarily something that should be surprising, though. I’ve been placed in a country halfway across the globe with 12 other students (most of whom I would have considered as simply my classmates before this trip), and into a culture and language that I’m completely unfamiliar with. These realities by themselves account for many of the times I’ve felt vulnerable. Add onto that the clinical work with populations that we’re not necessarily familiar with, and I sure there were times when all of us felt some vulnerability.
So, here’s my confession: I hate feeling vulnerable, especially around other people. If I’m being completely honest, this wasn’t my first choice of topic, because writing about vulnerability would require me to be vulnerable-and to a much larger audience than I would like it to be! On top of that, one of my least favorite things to do is to cry in front of people. I do my absolute best to avoid being seen while crying. Unfortunately for that part of myself, I tend to start crying when I see other people cry; and there just so happens to be people on this trip that cry much more easily than I-which usually ends up making me at least tear up. There’s probably a much more complex reason as to why I hate crying in front of others, but part of it is that I don’t like the attention and exposure it brings. I want to appear strong in front of others, but is that always necessary?
In the past, I’ve viewed being vulnerable as a bad thing, since it’s often synonymous with a weakness. However, I think it can also be used as a strength. It seems that when someone is vulnerable in front of another, there is a new, stronger comfort level between those two people. In therapy, it can be used as a strength as well. If the therapist is willing to be more open with their clients, the clients will respond by being more open with the therapist. It’s a relationship that needs reciprocation in order to function. Relationships that are one sided don’t work, because one person ends up doing all the giving, while the other just takes. So even when we’re trying to be the “Therapist,” we have to remember to remain human as well.