What a Therapist Thinks While Meditating

Jeff Guenther on Jan 19, 2020

I suck at meditating. I’m one of those therapists who tell my clients how important it is to meditate but I never do it myself. I’m a complete hypocrite. I’ve got all the meditation apps; my favorite one is Headspace. Every morning at 8:20am I get a gentle reminder to find some headspace and do a meditation, and every morning I swipe that notification away. As I swipe it away I tell my phone I don’t need it today but hit me up tomorrow… maybe I’ll find the time. But the thing is, I do have time. I don’t have busy mornings. I really should meditate. But how boring is it to just sit there and do nothing? I’d much rather lay in bed and check all my other apps that are vying for my attention.

This week on Say More About That I talked to my good therapist buddy Karel Chan, LPC about meditation and how she motivates her clients to start a meditation practice. She described her meditation practice in detail and made me feel like maybe I could actually start doing it myself. Karel talks about meditation in an incredibly accessible way. You can listen to the episode by clicking play below or by visiting Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

A few days after I talked to Karel, I sat on my couch during an hour break between clients to meditate for 15 minutes. These are the thoughts I had…

I’m meditating.
I’m focusing on my breath…
I’m already bored.
I want to look at my phone.
I hate writing notes.
If my notes were subpoenaed I would lose my license.
I would deserve it.
Meditating is better than writing notes.
I’m going to write amazingly detailed notes in 2020.
Or 2021.
If my clients asked to see my notes on them I would die, and probably be fired.
I dunno, maybe my notes aren’t that bad.
Focus on my breath…
About 70% of my clients sit in the middle part of the couch directly in front of me.
All the rest sit on the left side of the couch next to the tissues.
Only one sits on the right next to the lamp and bobblehead Freud.
How does that make Freud feel?
How does the right side of my couch feel?
What’s wrong with the right side of my couch?
What’s wrong with the one guy that sits over there?
I mentioned an ex-girlfriend at the end of my last session.
Why the fuck did I do that?
What was the context?
Did I self-disclose too much?
I need to be better about not mentioning personal details.
Do I do that because I want them to know me?
Do I do that because I want them to see me as human?
I bet a ton of therapists wouldn’t like that I mentioned an ex.
But who cares?
My clients like when I share personal things.
But maybe they don’t?
I wonder if they’d tell me if they didn’t like it.
I bet they wouldn’t.
What else are my clients not telling me?
Who’s leaving things out? Who’s lying to me?
How many times have I lied to a therapist I was seeing?
Every time. Every single time I’ve seen a therapist I’ve lied to them about multiple things.
What is wrong with me?
My clients have to be lying to me, at least some of the time.
Can I trust any of them?
I’m an amazing therapist.
But I’m only really amazing to a handful of clients.
Well, I’ve probably been amazing to about five clients in the past 15 years I’ve been doing this.
Why can’t I just see those clients over and over again?
How do I find more clients that make me feel amazing?
Focus on my breath…
Who’s coming in next?
Oh yeah…
What’s their girlfriend’s name?
How did I remember it last time?
It’s my sister’s name, right? No.
What the fuck is their name?
God, I’m the worst therapist.
How can I be so absentminded and a therapist at the same time?
What else have I completely forgotten that my clients have told me?
There must be so many things.
What is their girlfriend’s name???!!!
Gwendolyn? Is that the name? That can’t be their name.
Am I a horrible therapist if I use a funny thing my client said in my standup routine?
He’d probably never find out.
Do I own the content of a therapy session?
Should I ask his permission?
I bet he uses what I say all the time in his life! He never asks me for permission.
It’s only fair if I use what he says.
It was just one thing.
He didn’t even know it was funny.
Yeah, I’ll use it.
It doesn’t even matter since I’m not a comic.
But if I ever become one…

My alarm goes off. 15 minutes is up.


Jeff Guenther, LPC, is a therapist in Portland, OR. He has been in private practice since 2005. Jeff is the creator and owner of Portland Therapy Center, a highly ranked therapist directory. Jeff, and his team, have launched a new progressive therapist directory, TherapyDen.

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