It's totally weird.
You meet with a stranger. You pay them. You tell them lots of personal stuff, while knowing very little about them in return. You hope for great results, yet are also aware that there is no guarantee.
Sometimes you walk out of your therapy session with some amazing insights. Or a feeling of empowerment. Or like you tapped into some heavy emotions. And you think to yourself, “Wow, therapy is so powerful and useful!”
And then sometimes you walk out of a session feeling disappointed, or uninspired, or thinking, “Wait… did I just pay money for that? Nothing profound even happened!”
Not every moment in life is profound. And not every moment in therapy is profound.
Yet that doesn’t mean seeds aren’t being planted. Planted through your experiences in life, and through conversations with your therapist.
Which is why therapy is about the relationship. And how, by building that intimate relationship with your therapist, magic can happen in waves, while also having its natural lulls.
It makes me think about a therapist I had 7 years ago, whom I saw for around 6 months. I remember getting really stuck in a cycle of having amazing awareness and insight, but an inability to break through old habits. It became so frustrating because I could see and understand it all, yet I wasn’t changing in the ways I wanted.
And over and over again, he said that in order to make the changes I wanted, I’d need to move from a place of only awareness... to a place of acceptance. And I got annoyed every time he said that. With a tone of frustrated desperation, I would ask him, each session, how to accept myself (as though there was a handy checklist he had).
There was never an answer. There was always a dialogue about it. But never an answer. No checklist. No cheat sheet. No magic pill.
When we ended our work together, I still didn’t have the answer. Yet I regard this therapist as my favorite. Ever.
It’s been 7 years, and I still think fondly about that experience in therapy: of being eager, stuck, desperate, yet hopeful. And through a mixture of seeds being planted in therapy and life experiences, I now finally understand and truly feel, in my deepest self what he was trying to help me see every week in his office.
Even though I didn’t get the immediate answers I was seeking at the time, it’s the relationship we had, and the complete acceptance I felt from him, which he compassionately modeled towards me every week, that became so transformative.
Therapy is a relationship. And it moves in strange ways sometimes. Occasionally it may leave you disappointed. But at its root, it should make you feel seen, accepted, and supported. And don’t be surprised if certain lessons take some time before sinking in.
Because sometimes the answers we seek aren’t ready to be heard. Instead, they need time to grow. And eventually, we’ll be ready to hear it. To integrate it. To realize that even when things don’t necessarily feel profound... if we invite it in, magic can happen.
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