Learning to Change People’s Lives
My time at The Utech Group was nothing short of eventful. I came into this family with, what I thought was, a good understanding of my field, but I was poorly mistaken. Ever since high school, I knew Psychology was the path I wanted to take. Others can emphasize the toll it takes on you to help others take on challenges, but you never truly know until undergoing the process yourself. I was definitely unprepared for the amount of energy needed. But through my experience at Utech, I learned how to intentionally utilize what I’m feeling and the energy in the room, to create change. Despite all the surprises, I found solace in the fact that this is what I am supposed to be doing with my life, and I am going to positively impact many people.
The Impact of Changing People’s Lives
The first time I experience the “energy toll”, it came as an instant surprise. Now, before you go thinking I’m crazy, hear me out. During this all-day meeting, we met one-on-one with five different individuals. Going in, I was aware of the business’s background and the obstacles they were trying to work through. In these meetings, my team and I would gather feedback and then use that feedback to help the organization develop a plan of attack, to address some of the problems they were having. Sounds simple, right? Sit there. Interview people. Take notes. However, the moment I set foot into the conference room where we were going to be conducting the meetings, I felt a heaviness on my chest.
The first meeting was smooth sailing, but the second and third ones left me feeling sick. Not “grossed out” sick, but physically sick. These two individuals had a feud unlike anything I’ve ever been exposed to. The tension in the air was palpable, and I found myself needing to leave throughout their meetings. I wracked my brain for the answer to why I was feeling sick, and the only conclusion I could think of is that I possibly had food poisoning. This feeling continued for the next three hours, when finally, the third meeting was finished and my team had a lunch break. Instantly, I felt exhausted and could barely keep my eyes open. Throughout the last two meetings, I struggled to keep myself awake and to ignore the throbbing headache I developed. When I finally got home, I hid away in my room with all lights off because I just felt horrible.
Now, in most cases, I would have assumed I just got sick. But the truth was I wasn’t sick. Not at all. In fact, I found out I have a “superpower”. One that is both a blessing and a curse. I learned that I am so empathic that I take on the tension and pain of others, pretty much as soon as I step into the room. At The Utech Group, we’re all similar in that regard. We take on negative emotions, energy or tension that other people are not able to handle, whether it’s intentional or not. As my time with The Utech Group unfolded, I developed this superpower and learned to utilize it as a strength.
What it Means to Change People’s Lives
Midway through the summer, I was given the opportunity to co-facilitate counseling sessions. My passion for helping every client, whether in a big or small way, was reinforced. Here is when I ultimately learned how to control my empathic tendencies. When meeting with clients, I had to learn to not detach myself from the room. Yes, you read that right. Not detaching from the situation is what benefits the client, and the therapist, the most. This concept completely challenged that portrayal I had of therapists and how they must act in order to help others to the best of their abilities.
Growing up, I was told that we, as therapists, had to detach ourselves from other people’s situations so that we don’t take those feelings or emotions home with us. We need to be in a mindset where our emotions don’t cloud our judgements. We need boundaries, yet the emotions that we feel for our clients is what make therapists good at what they do. Think about it. If you come to me for help and I’m not sympathetic to your life, how can I show up for you? I can’t.
As my summer internship with The Utech Group comes to an end, I’ve come to realize that I have a tendency to take on other people’s emotions or energies. I have also learned that there’s a fine balance between owning other people’s tension versus utilizing it to create movement. If I completely detach myself from others, I am ineffective. If I allow myself to absorb all the unspoken emotions and tension, I am ineffective. If I want to be impactful, I need to acknowledge what I feel and sense from others, and then make them aware of it so that they can take ownership. I am there to help them, and I can’t do so if I don’t allow others to feel what they are feeling.
At the end of the day, I am still learning and am always learning. My experience with The Utech Group has been eye opening and has taught me so much about how I can create positive change in others without depleting myself or taking home their baggage. I can’t wait to continue my journey as a professional with all the tools I gained from this summer internship with one of the best and most influential companies out there.