Written by Living Well Therapist, Janelle Skogstad
I remember an experience I had as an intern at Living Well when I was struggling with the question of ‘Am I making a difference in these young adults’ lives?’ My supervisor said something that has stuck with me through the years as a life skills counselor and now as therapist, he said, “All you can do is plant the seeds.”
At the time, I thought, ‘what do you mean?’ I needed to see tangible results to know not only am I making a difference, but the client is going to leave the program having gone through a major transformation that can be seen. As I quickly found out that is not always the case and sometimes we will never know if the work being facilitated will make an impact now or years later. At the end of the day, I know I provided the therapeutic tools needed for clients to connect with their innate wisdom and ultimately the belief of being whole, not broken.
A recent conversation with an educational consultant made me ponder on a client I worked with as a Life Skills Counselor. The consultant asked me, “Do you get feedback from past clients long after the program?” I shared that a client reached out after 2 years, stating how he was “still struggling” in some ways, but in other ways he was doing well, and largely had me to thank for the therapeutic relationship I provided. As a clinician, these are the humble moments that make me reflect on my work, knowing I did make a difference and even though it needed years for that seed to grow, the client's internal process and larger work continued even after ending the program.