Part of Me

People from my past are still part of me. Last night, I sat waiting in a parking lot for my father to drop off my son (12) who spent the day with him watching movies and going to dinner. I arrived early and sat watching great big chunks of snowflakes falling on my windshield. The world looked beautiful.

Mesmerized by the snow, I almost missed a former client walk right past my car. Excited to see him, I jumped out of my car, flailed my arms, and called to him. I was excited!

He is a part of me

We met together for weekly sessions for a few years during and after high school. It had now been years since I’ve seen him! After hugging and catching up, I learned he walked about 5 miles home every night from this job at Rite Aid. (In the dark. With no hat.) Of course I drove him home and was glad to do so, because it meant learning more about how his life was going. I was so happy to have connected and heard his good news.

Part of me, inspirational article

Last week, I received the follow email from another former client:

Hi Jodi! I was just thinking about you yesterday, missing you and then last night you appeared in my dream. In my dream I was worried about something and needed to tell you but didn’t know where you were and then you showed up with your great smile and gave me a great big hug and held me tight so that I’d know you were there. Thanks for visiting me! Sending you lots of love, and hoping all is going well for you.

Everyone we interact with becomes a part of us.

Everyone I interact with becomes a part of me, and I them. The therapy room is a sacred place where sometimes people reveal what they have not revealed to anyone else, so this is especially so. It is an honor to witness people’s innermost thoughts. (Thoughts they often think are “crazy” and weird, but are exactly what everyone else is thinking.) When our conversations open their minds to new possibilities and help them soar to new heights in their lives, it inspires me beyond measure. The people and the conversations dissolve into me, since I am different and new each hour for having experienced them.

It creates a connection, a bond. When bumping into former clients, they see me and know that I know them. I mean, really know them. I see them and I want to be caught up on this or that, and I want to hear the rest of the story since we left off. (It is like I stopped a novel halfway through.) I wish and hope that they are happy in their lives and feel an overwhelming sense of caring for them. They are as much a part of me and I am of them.

Many clients tell me that they talk to me in their heads when they are struggling or think, “What would Jodi say here?” when they are making a decision. I tell them that I was there. I believe that when we imagine the presence of someone, they are there. You can feel the caring, and we can connect with how they see us. It is most important when we are thinking negatively about ourselves to bring in a voice of someone who cares and sees us in a positive, beautiful way. This helps me when I am having a hard day.

People can, even if it is just a moment, experience their identity through my eyes. And this might help them feel better. Influence and compassion stays with us long after physical presence, available to us whenever we need it, we only have to conjure it up. This is another way we never lose people (Understanding Impermanence: Even Loss is Temporary!)

We are shaped and fashioned by what we love. 

So conjure away, I am here. I am there. I think you are fantastically amazing and I always will, (even if you don’t think so) no matter what!

22 thoughts on “Part of Me”

  1. thank you so much Jodi for this comforting post. That is what i needed to hear from you. I have been struggling since last Wednesday with some negative thoughts concerning therapy and the relationship between client and therapist. Your description here is exactly what i thought it should be, but reading an article last Wednesday about funny experiences of a therapist, to be honest i had a panic attack and crying and sobbing in the office as i felt it had broken the trust i had put in my therapist. I kept it in my heart building up until yesterday night. I had to share with my friend to understand whether i was overreacting. She did calm me down, saying i was lately oversensitive so my reaction is understandable.
    I honestly feel so much better now that i have read your post. It’s nice to know that your client becomes part of you and not only “anyone” or a “case”. It’s nice to know a client is a human being who has a story that goes on and not a file we through in a drawer.
    Thank you Jodi <3

    1. Jodi Lobozzo Aman

      Was that the Neurosis Files? She was trying to be stupid and funny so using poetic license. I am sure she didn’t really feel like that to her clients. I regretted tweeting that since I think it may have hurt you that it made me giggle. I just didn’t realize how much. I am sorry to have caused you pain. This post is really what most counselors feel, but sometimes we need some humor because we hear some intense things and laughter helps us deal with it. However, it should never be at the expense of anyone. I am very sorry!

      1. I also smiled at some points. I certainly understand. I think the big trigger was the example of the suicidal patient, and that provoked an intense reaction because of an experience i had few days before. Thanks again <3

  2. Something I miss about being in the city is missing the chance to spot former therapists around, because they were such a huge part of my life and will never be forgotten.

  3. Jodi, this post is beautiful! Since I often ask “what would Jodi do?” in email, you can imagine how many times I wonder that same thing in my *thoughts.* You’ve been a wonderful support to me and I want you to know how much I appreciate you!

    1. Jodi Lobozzo Aman

      Thank you so much! Loved your post today. I’m the worst copy editor so this is a great tip! I see you still cannot put summary only on your emails. Love you!

  4. Thank you so much Jodi. I feel that connection from you all the time and words can’t say how much it means to me! I do feel like you are a part of me now!

  5. Well said. Definitely true. I have a very good childhood friend, who I don’t see much because we live on opposite sides of the country. But she’s in my thoughts, and in our youth she gave me so much. She helped make me who I am today. That was almost 40 years ago, but we are still good friends when we see each other. She’ll always be my childhood friend. I can have conversation with her in my head because I know what she’ll say.
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  6. Jodi, the fact that your client’s ask themselves, “What would Jodi do?” says a lot of the wonderful experience they must go through when being in your company. I love that you got out of your car to say hello to a former patient. Sadly, I think some people would look the other way or pretend not to see the person. I once went to a therapist who told me, “I’m sorry. I can’t treat you any more. You remind me too much of my mother.” This is a true story. To this day, I want to kick myself for not reporting him to the Medical Board and while I did report him to my health insurance, I’m sure that didn’t make much of a difference. A person needs to connect and bond with the person he or she is entrusting with his/her troubles. I cried for days after this happened and to tell you the truth, I never went back to therapy. Thank you for this post, friend! 🙂

    1. Hi Bella, I had a bad experience in therapy too, surely not as bad, but it also made me cry a lot. The first time i went to therapy was in 2007. I have met that same lady twice a week over 3 years. It was all so new to me as i had never shared anything before with anyone, not even friends or family. Going there was more like a torture to me.First visit she said :” i have to meet you 3 times before i decide if i’m comfortable enough to help you”.When i arrived 5 minutes earlier, she was upset. In a common decision between her and the psychiatrist, i was admitted 3 weeks to hospital. I didn’t hear from her in the 3 weeks, but the day i was back, i had to pay for the 6 sessions i missed by being in hospital. ALL i remember of my sessions is feeling uncomfortable as she was staring at me not saying a word. She never talked, never smiled, never had any expression in her eyes or on the face. And i was too scared to leave.

      1. And i don’t remember once having a feed back or a comment or explanation about what i was saying or feeling, never. I could have talked to a recording machine, it would have been the same

    2. Jodi Lobozzo Aman

      Bella and Nikky, These are awful stories! I am so sad that a therapist did this, it sounds beyond inappropriate, And I cannot imagine. They should not be in practice doing harm like that!

      1. I’m glad that you agree it’s not normal. It took me almost a year to accept to try someone else. I had few sessions and stopped. I’m learning better here 🙂

  7. I called my old therapist (from over 10 years ago) several weeks ago, and even with my full name…she doesn’t remember me. This is someone I saw every week for 5 years. I am devastated. She wasn’t interested in helping me again at all, and now I question if she ever believed me.

    1. I’m so sorry Elizabeth. I remember stories from 10 years ago, even if I saw the person just a few times. Names are harder for me. I recognize the name as a familiar name, but I don’t connect names to stories until I hear the story, if that makes sense. It’s the story and emotions that store in my memory. Let me know if you are interested in us working together.

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