Since I’ve started my course in Counseling & Psychotherapy, I have started to see the bigger picture of humanity. For the last couple of weeks we’ve been studying the Humanistic Approach ( known as Person-Centred Counseling) which Carl Rogers started after he was disillusioned with Freudian Psychodynamic Counseling. Soon I began to see the overlap between Rogers theory and how we are trying to do youth ministry! Person-Centred is characterized by three core conditions, which the counselor needs to offer: 1) Unconditional Positive Self-Regard; 2) Empathy and 3) Congruence. As I was digging deeper into their meaning, one word came to my mind: belonging. Belonging is a universal need! It is an invitation to being honest, it’s a place where there is no condemnation, no judgement, instead there is acceptance, respect, community and love. It is a safe place. And we want to offer this place to the young people we work with and encounter.
But then I started looking at myself, the youth worker and future to be counselor. In Person-Centred words I am supposed to be a “light in the darkness” whose presence has power and can offer healing. But so often I feel inadequate. I feel like a mess, and I wonder “what do I have to offer? I am broken as well!” There is the self-condemned voice that whispers “you are not good enough”. As I was reflecting on this, one girl came to my mind who I see from time to time at the youth drop in center or on the street. She is living with a foster family and has serious issues. Whenever she sees me, she simply wants to get a hug. She is not ready to talk about her troubled soul, but she is craving love and belonging. And I need to trust that this encounter is enough, that by giving her a hug I can tell her that she is loved. So what I have to offer?! Presence! Yes , I need to work through my own mess, but instead of seeing myself as messed up, I can see it as a chance to get in touch with my own pain and suffering and my own humanity and be transformed into a “Wounded Healer”.
A while ago I scribbled down this poem after I had coffee with a girl:
Sit here with me
Just simply be
As we both breathe the air around us
in and out.
Words spoken full of pain
Just be with me
You are more than skin, hair,
bones, DNA, hormones and chemicals
You are a soul
Just be and sit and see
I want to offer you love and grace
Embrace it and breathe
Pain, confusion and suffering are present
But trust me, healing is in you as well.
Sit here. Be with me and breathe.