When I say that I have therapy praxis, I notice different reactions from people. Some stop for some seconds and try to digest what they’ve heard. Others answer with long: “Ooooookeeeeyyy!” or “Interesting”. And the conversation stops there.
With time I realized that people around me have a different understanding of what “therapy” means than I do.
For me, therapy is a word that expresses a process someone is willing to go through together with a trained person within the field of psychology. The purpose of this process is to have a more fulfilled and easier life. A process, which allows people to discover themselves and see a bigger and perhaps a different picture of the world they are living in. It’s a process of growth and becoming.
Yet, for many other people, “therapy” means something very scary. It means that you are mentally ill, diagnosed, and in serious trouble. I have no idea why it is like that. Just is, and those people think for themselves: “I am fine. I don’t need therapy. I’m not crazy. Other people have it worse than me”, which is called “denial” in technical terms.
Many are going out and speak under the influence of a famous “therapist” who goes by different names: “Wine”, “Beer”, “Scotch”, “Vodka” and many others. I’m sure you know who I mean. There is also a saying “What happens to a party, stays at the party” and one can say that the “confidentiality” agreement is in place. Although, images and films we see on the internet these days, say otherwise.
All good. Speaking with family and friends under influence or not, is great. These people are precious. At the same time, they have their own issues and their own emotions to deal with when they hear your problems. Most likely, their advice will come with good intentions; yet, they are not in your shoes. I have seen enough broken relationships because people cannot manage their own feelings when they find out how the other person really feels. And it’s also a kind of tabu to speak about feelings.
Therefore, let me explain how therapy works.
If you’ve been to therapy and you didn’t like it, it’s ok. It’s not for everybody. For people who realize that they need this kind of help is good if they try several therapists/psychologists until they find one, they resonate with.
When they found that person, it will take six to eight or ten sessions to feel progress. Unfortunately, their problems are not going to be fixed overnight. The therapist is a good support through the process, with knowledge, compassion, guidelines, and questions, while they are doing the job. Nobody can fix other people but themselves.
If you do not want to be fixed, or if you are not willing to put in the work, nobody can do that for you. Nobody else can feel your feelings or think your thoughts for you.
Working with yourself is not like working with pottery, or cooking, or carpentry, where you actually “see” or “touch” the progress. When you work with yourself, you need to feel it in your daily life, in the time between therapy sessions. You feel it in the behavior patterns you have towards yourself and others.
With the therapist, who is bound to confidentiality, you can speak about everything without being afraid of being judged or nailed to the ground because of who you really are. Managing to speak about issues you’ve never shared with anyone, in a safe place, can change your perspectives over your life. More than that, after you’ve experienced putting words on difficult situations or feelings, in that safe place, it is much easier to talk about outside the therapist’s office. You learn how to use words, and how to express your needs in a way that is comfortable both for you and for those who hear them.
Where else can you do this? In today’s society, when we’re supposed to be “perfect,” where is it that YOU can take the freedom to be yourself with all that you are?