One day, an old chef was walking by the river with his grandson, thinking about what wisdom to impart to the boy. He told him that our minds are like the river: ever flowing. But within the flowing waters are different currents, and so it is within our minds. Inside himself, the old chef said, he can sometimes feel two wolves: one is gentle and kind, and is a peace seeker, while the other is angry and aggressive. The grandson looked at the old man in wonder and asked, ‘Who will win Grandfather?’. The old chef responded: ‘The one that I feed’.
I am often the first person with whom my patients share significant and intimate thoughts and memories; I never take that privileged position for granted nor the opportunity to help someone to feel better about themselves and discover a more fulfilling life. One of my colleague once described me as natural psychologist; I guess she was alluding to the fact that I feel at ease being a therapist, I can empathise with people’s distress and discomfort but don’t feel overwhelmed by it, I can understand their problem and know how to help, it has always just felt like what I should be doing.