on vulnerability and being human

Brene Brown’s voice came up as “soothing” when I asked elsewhere who people thought had soothing voices. I couldn’t remember if I had ever heard her voice, so I threw her name into a google search. Up came the 2010 TEDxHouston talk on Vulnerability…

It kinda connects in topic (or maybe listening to what she was saying sparked a thought that led to a thought that led to remembering) to this blog post from Inner Canvas (a blog by an art therapist for therapists about utilizing creativity in their practice). Specifically, I’m thinking of the quote with which she starts the entry:

“Our profession is the only profession that gives you 5-6 chances to feel like a failure every day.”  Scott Miller

While I haven’t bothered to look up who Scott Miller is, I think this quote speaks not only to vulnerability, but also to the humanity of therapists. They are people, not “gods” or “robots” or anything else impervious and impenetrable we may conjure when thinking of them. This is something of which I often need reminding. I find myself at once understanding that therapists have their own lives with trials and tribulations, yet forgetting that they have emotions in reaction to not only their lives, but also to what we (as clients) bring to session with us. I’m remembering the recent session with TM where I was disclosing something I felt little emotion about, but to which I thought I saw an emotional reaction from her. In the same moment, I felt a fear that I would break her with the “truth of who I am” but also hoped that she was immune to the darkness that leaks from me… I’m expecting her to be stronger than I am against all of the “gunk” in me, but I’m also afraid that what I express will break her apart as badly as it has both myself and others…

I hope with all my heart that my vulnerabilities do not mirror her own because then they may actually break her. I worry about that with everyone and anyone with whom I let down my guard and allow to see the mess inside. Yet I’m reminded of something TL had said to me in session one day; “you’ll be surprised how many people appear once you begin to be genuine with who you are to the world.” She was speaking of that same concept of vulnerability Brene Brown talks of in her presentation at TEDxHouston…

Therapists become vulnerable daily when they invite us to show them our pain. While it’s different in quality to the vulnerability we present as clients, it’s vulnerability none-the-less…

…and because I saw she had another talk up from TED2012, I thought I’d listen to that too… I’m not done, but there was one quote I wanted to include here: “vulnerability is not a weakness”… can we get this in neon, blinking lights please? because I know I have a lot of trouble with this concept. Here’s the whole talk in case anyone is interested:


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