Sometimes, dear reader, the hardest part of being a therapist for a person like me, who is not a natural, non-judgmental listener (I’m an ENFJ, for those of you who know what that means), is not saying my opinions about my client’s life choices. You will be proud of me, because I zip my lip very well in session. I say things like: “How is that plan going for you?” and “Do you think that behavior will help you reach your goal?” or
“What do you think would be the best decision to make?” I do not break that curtain, because unconditional positive regard and self-empowerment are the foundations of my job.
But when I go home, I have STUFF TO SAY. My poor husband gets to hear my opinions a lot because I can’t tell them to the people who need to hear them. So there are a lot of things I would like to tell my clients, especially the girls, but I can’t because it’s not my job to just come right out and say it. Here are a few of them:
- DRUGS ARE BAD!!!!! Drugs are very, very, very bad! STOP DOING DRUGS.
- DON’T SLEEP WITH THAT BOY. He is bad news! He just wants to use you, get you pregnant and move on to the next thoughtless girl. HE DOESN’T LOVE YOU. Would you like me to kill him? I will kill him for you.
- GANGS ARE NOT COOL. Have you ever met a successful female gang member? NO. Female gang members get raped. They get knocked up. They get drugged up and prostituted out. Being a girl in a gang is like putting a sign on your back that says: “Mess up my life!” STOP DATING BOYS IN GANGS. SEE POINT # 2 AGAIN.
- GO TO CHURCH. People at church love you. They care about you. They will help you and hug you when you are sad. They will even give you a ride or a meal if you need it and you don’t have to do them any illegal or immoral favors to get it. STOP BEING IN A GANG AND GO TO CHURCH INSTEAD.
- Being a teen mom is NOT COOL. The top way to get out of poverty is to NOT get pregnant. He says he will stick around? He is lying! And even if he’s not, he doesn’t have a dime to help you out with. SEE POINT #2 AGAIN.
That’s just a few of them. Some of the things I DO get to say are good, things like this:
- I know its hard right now, but one day, I promise you, things will get better if you keep doing what you know is right.
- You are SO SMART, beautiful, creative, and talented. You can have a better life if you keep doing what you know is right.
- Stay on track. There is a great future for you out there… if you keep doing what you know is right.
- You don’t have to stay in the bad side of town. You can graduate high school, have a strong family (at the right time!), and have a good job and stay off of welfare…if you keep doing what you know is right.
- I believe in you. I know you can do it.
I care about them so much sometimes it hurts… I want them to have more and have better lives. I wish sometimes they were my kids so I could take them away from all the gunk they live with and endure. I want them to know there is more out there than trips to Chucky Cheese. I want to go all Quantum Leap style and take over and make their choices for them for a few years until they are out of danger! But I can’t. So I settle for hoping I can let them know there is a big, wonderful world out there that is better than the ghetto, and they can get there…if they keep doing what they know is right.