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Clinical Craft #001: Shared Struggles and Challenges

March 29, 2022

Clinical Craft #001: Shared Struggles and Challenges
By Diana Hu, PsyD

A reflection from Diana Hu, PsyD, lead clinician for The Therapy Journal & The Field Guide for Depression.

Sometimes it feels like being a therapist is to hold a gemstone. It sounds corny, but bear with me here. We hold the full person, and see all the facets of the stone, including where the light refracts through someone’s strengths, the cloudiness of trauma within, and the sides where the stone has been shaped by its surroundings. Treatment, therefore, takes into account all of this contextual information and understanding, and is uniquely personalized.

Coming into creating notebooks with Therapy Notebooks, my biggest challenge was understanding and anticipating who the potential user might be: what are their fears? What are their strengths and quirks? How can I hold and understand all of the people who might pick up the book and be able to bring the sense of validation and personalization within this format?

What I’ve landed on is an amalgamation of my clients. When I think about what tools to include, what format to use, and what prompts to offer, I’m speaking to my clients as a group. They struggle with their individual histories, but also share such ubiquitous experiences of self-judgment, relationship stress, and fears. In working on these books, I bring them together in my mind, wishing that they could meet each other, recognize themselves in another’s struggles, and find comfort and validation through their shared experiences.

If you have found a place in the books that has resonated with you, whether it’s a particularly helpful tool, a snippet of a passage, or a prompt that landed just so, then it means that you are not alone. You share struggles and experiences with these clients in my mind, and while you have your unique history and contextual factors, maybe it’s just a little bit less isolating to bear.

Diana Hu is a licensed clinical psychologist in private practice in Seattle, WA. She utilizes evidence-based methods to treat anxiety, depression, life transitions, relationship struggles, and generational acculturation issues.

Read more from Diana here.

This article is not therapy or a replacement for therapy with a licensed professional. It is designed to provide information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is not engaged in rendering psychological, financial, legal, or other professional services. If expert assistance or counseling is needed, seek the services of a competent professional.

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