A therapist’s journey through therapy
When I was 17, I found myself struggling. I had no idea of emotional well-being, my emotional intelligence was a 3/10 at best and I was not a happy person.
Alongside some very unhealthy behaviours I lived a dark and difficult emotional life and didn’t quite understand that this wasn’t the only way. Happiness when it came was fleeting and even in those moments there was always a dark cloud hanging over the experience.
I later came to understand this as depression, although I never received a diagnosis.
When I first entered therapy I found it very difficult. How could I trust this woman in front of me with my secrets, when mistrust was part of my wounding. How could I receive her empathy when lack of understanding was part of my wounding too. I knew I needed to shed tears… a lot of them. And instinctively I knew that I needed someone to witness and support me through my pain. I had felt alone for a long time and I didn’t want to anymore.
So my first therapy relationship was about finding the courage to ask for help. I was young and this was as far as I would allow the journey.
My next therapy relationship, I learned to cry in front of another and allow them to be witness to my pain. This lasted a while and I felt sometimes lighter and sometimes darker after sessions. I thought that the tears were the end objective, a cathartic experience where I had to really ‘feel the pain’ of all my wounds. Although these tears did lead to some healing, I understood later that tears were not the only way. They were not the end objective.
When I trained to become a therapist I entered into the most healing of all my therapeutic relationships. I saw a body therapist for a long period of time which allowed a deepening of relationship, where wounds could come to the surface as we created enough safety through the years. Only then was I able to use the space to think and feel about my experiences, both in the past and the present. I could make sense of what had happened, I was able to question my current ways of coping and figure out what was no longer serving me. And most importantly I learned that another could accompany me on the healing journey, with compassion and empathy.
I found what I needed at each point in my life – a beginning, time to grieve and beyond that time to reflect, deepen and heal.
I learned to trust that healing was possible, that I could show up for myself and in this journey understood the importance of having walked the walk in order to offer the same to my clients. I can relate to the client as I was the client.
Therapy is something that can help us to move from a place of not coping, right through to surviving and thriving.
Therapy will always be an option to me, a place to be seen and heard. Not a place I go to because I am weak, but a place I go to BECAUSE I am strong and my vulnerability is my strength. A place I know will offer me a chance to take when I need. Of course choosing the right therapist is so important for the journey and I hope to be that person for the clients that need me when the time is right for them.
This post was originally created for the counselling directory and can be seen on their website here.