“It’s not your fault.”

Trigger warning for suicide

For those of you that have seen the film Good Will Hunting, you may remember the scene where Robin Williams tells Matt Damon over and over, “it’s not your fault.” The scene culminates in a meaningful embrace and what can only be considered as a therapeutic breakthrough. In graduate school, my professor showed us this scene to demonstrate a point about empathy and understanding in the therapeutic relationship. And while most therapy doesn’t really work like that, this scene remains one of the most poignant scenes that I have seen in regards to the portrayal of therapy.

I’ve watched this scene several times since the tragic suicide of Robin Williams. And it sums up everything I want to say and get through to not only my clients, but everyone suffering from suicidal ideation, depressive symptoms, mental illness, and those who have ever felt a sense of hopelessness and despair.

It’s not your fault.

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On happiness

“If you were to wake up tomorrow and your life was exactly how you wanted it to be, what would be different?”

If you’ve ever been in a graduate counseling program or have been involved in therapy, you’ve probably asked or been asked the “miracle” question. This question, often used to spark discussion about what’s needed to facilitate productive changes, is often met with one of three answers:

  1. The specific, well-thought answer where the client knows exactly what needs to change and is making strides as to how to change it (thank you for making my job easier)
  2. “I don’t know…everything”
  3. “I’d be happy”

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