When I was interviewing Shao for a therapist position at Transcendent Self, it wasn’t her exceptional professional background or training experiences that led me to hire her, although these are impressive. It was a singular question she asked me that concretized my decision: “How would you describe the process of therapy using metaphor?” First off, it struck me as bold to ask her potential boss such a forward question, to shift the positioning of power and to put me on the spot. As I sat with this, I saw that what she truly desired was to hear my perspective and how I think in order to assess if I am someone who could provide her the mentorship that would allow her to grow professionally in meaningful ways. I also gleaned that she understands the value of metaphor, and thereby also values abstract thought, openness, and imagination, all of which are critical qualities to being an excellent therapist.

I responded to her that the process of therapy is similar to the process of taking care of a plant – determining how much sun and water it needs to grow (assessing our patient’s needs), not over or under providing (establishing boundaries), pruning so that new leaves can have room to grow (encouraging taking action so as to promote growth and change), and always, tending to the plant with caring attention (something people so often don’t receive in relationships).

Over the course of several emails acclimating Shao to the position and my team, we continued this exchange about tending to plants as a metaphor for therapy, generating new ideas and adding nuance to areas already discussed. I found these interactions to nourish something profound — contemplations on what it means to grow, evolve, and heal, but not through clinical language that can feel tedious, rigid, and robotic. Metaphor is poetry — unexact, lyrical, open for interpretation. And isn’t that the human experience?

Thoroughly enjoying these contemplations on humanity with Shao, I decided it would be nice to share them with you, to allow you into our minds. From there sprung the genesis for this blog. When I think of you, you’re not the sum of a diagnosis or whatever problem you may be wrestling with. You are a creative, fluid, interesting and complex being, deserving of care and attention. I hope you take pleasure and succor in our future musings.

~ Kateri

Transcendent Self Therapy is an innovative therapeutic practice designed for those navigating the complexities of modern identities and lifestyles.

Learn more about our therapists and what they have to offer here. 

If you’re ready to start therapy, get started here.