Selfless Therapy Part II: Sharing as Giving – A Prisoner’s Perspective

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AltrUHelp

This marks the second post in AltrUHelp’s new series of guest blog posts from industry professionals.  Jordan Nacht is a Mental Health Counselor from New York and a thought leader on the topic of altruism in the therapy arena.

As a mental health counselor who works with parolees, probation and pre-trial clients, I’ve heard countless anecdotes of the horrors of prison life.  As it is with most daunting experiences, there are points of happiness and growth in these perceivably “dark” experiences.  I make it a point to assume a nonjudgmental and unconditionally positive stance toward my clients (which is utterly necessary for any therapist). To do so, I search for these shining lights—redeeming, uplifting moments—however bright or dim.

I often ask my clients a particular question regarding their time in prison: “How did you keep your sanity,” or more pointedly, “how did you maintain the goodness I see inside you while stuck in such a ‘bad’ environment?”  This question can elicit such emotion that clients decline to answer–in which case I revisit the question once a more trusting relationship has been established.  Oftentimes, though, a response comes forth immediately. It never fails to relate to altruism.  In this piece, I will depict some of these experiences, those through which incarcerated persons maintain their humanity. Read More