I've been feeling nostalgic since the recent death of Dr. Joyce Brothers. I grew up watching Brothers on shows like Donahue and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson while my grandmother crocheted afghans beside me. I knew I wanted to be a therapist from a very young age, having analyzed my own familial relationships ad nauseum (I was a weird kid). Back then, I loved Dr. Brothers' wit, grace, class and charm. Today, I respect her as the rarity she was during her prime: an accomplished female in the field of psychology.
Dr. Brothers paved the way for women like me, and her extensive media exposure did not detract from her credibility—another rarity in the media machine known for exalting experts to guru status only to eventually chew them up and spit them out. No, Dr. Brothers had staying power because of her enduring wisdom. And I believe her wisdom endured because of its inherent simplicity. Below are three love quotes that have had the most impact on my work as a therapist:
1. "Trust your hunches. They're usually based on facts filed away just below the conscious level."
Often clients in crisis look to me for answers, but my belief is that each of us is an expert of our own lives. I think Dr. Brothers would have agreed that nature gave us hunches for a reason: to guide us. I regularly respond to clients' questions with another question: "What does your gut tell you?" The answer may not readily surface because hunches are not always initially clear. Sometimes it takes a quieting of the mind and body before we can check in and feel what our "guts" are trying to tell us. Much of my work as a therapist involves first teaching clients how to slow down and get in touch with their hunches, and then offering support as they find the courage to follow those hunches. Keep reading...
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