By: Lisa Philippart
“The greatest gift you can give another is the purity of your attention.” Richard Moss
As a mental health professional, one of my favorite parts of my work is getting the opportunity to listen to my client’s life stories. About 90% of the time, during the first session, my client becomes tearful, and usually makes a statement about just needing to talk to someone. That intake session is generally devoted to me listening and the client spewing out everything that has built up inside…sometimes “emotional vomit” that has collected over a lifetime. Afterwards, my client often reports feeling “lighter” and healthier, in my opinion, mostly because they have shared their struggles with another human being.
All of my life I have worked with people. And I can honestly say that I have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly of humanity, to the point where I have nothing left to give. But I am seeing a change in my clients that I find unsettling. I have been a psychotherapist for over ten years, and have worked with adults of all ages. Here are some of my observations (not based on any scientific study):
1. Clients are making less eye contact.
2. Clients have difficulty naming one close friend.
3. Clients acknowledge spending HOURS on their phones.
4. Clients acknowledge spending HOURS playing video games.
5. Clients acknowledge spending HOURS on their computers.
6. Clients spend less time interacting with others.
7. Clients have difficulty communicating with others.
Notice a pattern? I submit to you that we are creating a society of human beings who are choosing isolation, but are craving connection. Nothing can replace the relating of two individuals in conversation. There is no app for that! Mental health counseling involves talking to each other! WHAT!? Yup, we are connecting on the most basic level, through dialogue, and that can be disconcerting for some. So, what do I recommend to combat this trend of separation from each other? I’ll let you know next time….
By: Lisa Philippart
Licensed Professional Counselor