‘Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate’ (C.G. Jung)
It takes courage and strength to face your problems and reach out for help. It’s not an easy decision and it will likely involve talking about things that you would probably prefer to forget about. But, as most of us might have noticed, ‘forgetting’ is impossible and doesn’t really help. Pushing difficulties away, hiding memories from the past, not talking about bad experiences just mask - and sometimes intensify - the suffering.
Many people spend years avoiding asking for help, considering it a sign of ‘weakness’. I’ve heard it so many times from my clients, that it doesn’t surprise me anymore. Those same clients, who finally decide to embark in therapy, are the ones who show me how brave and strong they actually are. What they once had considered ‘weakness’ has proven to be a sign that there is something incredibly powerful inside them, willing to face their troubles and move towards the life they truly desire.
Talking therapy: what makes it so powerful
At first, it might feel uncomfortable to talk about the issues that hurt you the most, and choosing to spend time exploring difficult and painful subjects. And that requires trust, patience and time.
You will soon notice - and feel - the huge benefits of talking therapy, and here are some of the reasons:
1- Someone you can trust.
For many people, having someone they can trust is a totally new experience. They have been hurt, betrayed, lied to. For the first time, they can finally feel the openness and liberation that trust brings.
It’s very important that you feel safe with your therapist. That you feel accepted and understood, knowing that you can talk about anything you want. Trust is transformative and healing. And what you experience in therapy can – gently – start manifesting in other relationships in your life.
2- Facing difficulties that are too hard to face alone.
You took the huge step of reaching out for help. Now it’s time to look at what’s troubling you. In the safety of therapy, you are held and contained by the therapist’s support and full attention.
It’s like opening an old treasure box: we have no idea what we might find in there. And it can be very scary. At first, we might take stuff out and make a big mess in the room. It might feel ugly and confusing. But you know you are not doing that alone. The counsellor is by your side, helping you look at those things in front of you, gently and with time. As the therapy develops, the box might not seem so scary anymore. The mess starts to change, some things start getting into place.
And, most importantly, you are not alone.
3- You are not being judged.
It’s really difficult to talk about our issues without the fear of being judged, criticised or told what to do. It’s why talking to family and friends can be so hard at times. And they do have the best intentions! Even with kindness, the loved ones can end up trying to ‘fix you’, tell you what to do, ‘knowing what’s best’ for you. And it’s ok. It’s very important to have that support in your life too, please treasure it.
However, the nature of therapy is different: it is essential to have an open view of the client, non-judgemental and empathic. That means I see you as you are. I accept you for everything you are and have experienced in life. It’s not my place to judge or make assumptions. It’s the opposite. I look at you with fresh eyes, feeling curious and open to the discovery we will embark together in therapy.
4- No advices given.
The therapist is not there to give you advice or tell you what to do. But, instead, to guide you and facilitate ways for you to find the solutions that feel true to you. The therapeutic process is about empowering you in your life journey. It’s about trusting that you are the best person to make decisions and control your own life.
As a counsellor, I’m here for you and with you. I’m here to help and support you, guiding and facilitating the process of change you want to happen in your life. The journey is yours. Hopefully, a journey of self-discovery, empowerment and growth.
5- A new way to look at yourself and your life.
The therapeutic process is like ‘turning the light on in a dark room’. It’s about starting seeing things with more clarity. With a different perspective. In the safety of therapy, you start increasing your self-awareness, learning things about yourself and discovering new ways of behaving. In the process, hopefully learning to accept and valuing yourself, for everything you are.
The clarity will help you to make more conscious and well-informed decisions. Consequently, achieving the changes you want to see happening in you and around you.
6- You can’t change others. You can only change yourself.
It might be disappointing news for you. But it’s true: you can’t change others or what they do.
However, the work you are doing in therapy - the changes in you - will certainly affect people around you and your relationships. It will create ripples, affecting the way you respond to people, situations and how you behave in general. That, in return, will produce different responses. And you’ll be surprised by how small consistent steps can really make a difference in people’s lives. Trust the process, it will be worth it.
7- A sacred time that is only yours.
That hour in the week is only yours. The therapist is ‘at your service’, with you as their main focus and interest. Whatever else that is going on in your life takes a pause. No phones, emails, texts. Your session is a special time that is only yours, for reflection, support and self-care. It’s the moment when you truly allow yourself to look at your needs, your concerns, your life.
If you are used to putting everybody else’s needs first, it will be a great new experience and it will bring feelings of relief and being looked after. Hopefully, you will also learn to make yourself a priority sometimes, focusing on what is truly meaningful and important to you.