This post is on the second most common theme or trait I see in patients who succeed in therapy: Humility.

There are two kinds of humility I see in patients who succeed. (1) The humility to be a compliant and responsible medical patient. (2) The humility to live in the reality that clinicians and physicians are human collaborators in this journey, not magicians, gods, or genie’s. These two points break down into two parts each.

Most of us wear a number of masks, whether it’s through Facebook, a chipper personality, an Eeyore personality or something else. These masks can support certain roles in our lives.

Performance in itself does not indicate a possible disorder; dysfunction does. Performance is so common, assumed, and demanded–that when the masks crack and the performance is disturbed… the first and most affected person tends to be the performer themselves. Most people pick up their masks and try again… until it doesn’t work.

It requires humility to face your reflection in the mirror, and admit you need help. It takes some level of courage to express helplessness to another human being. 

I see the risk my patients take, when they show humility as they lay their cards down, with their own variation of words: Here is everything I’ve done to fool myself about my self. Here is everything I’ve done to then try to solve all my problems. Here is what I’m left with, and what I wish to salvage, redeem, and gain.

However, the humility to sustain looking at yourself in the mirror does not lead to change: The patient must also be willing to accept clinical interventions, and be compliant with standard-, best- healthcare practices. This means the patient maintains a sober perspective of their clinician as a trained and experienced healthcare professional, not warping their expectations of the clinician to perform as something else–whether a magician, or a god. The patient must do their part in their mental and emotional healing journey: Nobody else can reach their therapeutic goals for them.

The other side of Humility of the Patient, the second success trait commonly seen in my winning cases, is the humility found in the Clinician. I cannot speak for other clinicians, but I can say I only trust Clinicians with referrals when I have seen humility in them. I can also say I have peace of mind in my own work because I am grounded in the belief that I am not the source of healing or change. I believe in quality assurance via best practices, science, teamwork, ethics, faith, and patient-centered care. I believe humility is there when I advocate for my patients at my clinic, in the community, and in prayer to my God. I suspect it starts with the knowledge that I am only one person in the patient’s treatment team… and we are all in this together.

In closing, humility is the prerequisite for the courageous journey to begin, to be sustained, and to be achieved. If you have a friend who shares they are on this sort of journey, please try to start practicing your own humility as well. You just got invited onto their treatment team. 🙂



Licensed Professional Counselor, EMDR Therapist, Certified PeaceLove (Expressive Arts) Creator Facilitator, Certified Dancing Mindfulness Facilitator, Certified Laughter Leader


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