Right now we are so restricted in what we can do and the people we can see that we are forced into living a life with much more time for reflection. This can at times be painful, bringing up regret and sadness. We are also much more alone. To have someone alongside in these times, to not always be alone with our thoughts and feelings is perhaps one of the most important aspects of therapy in our current world situation.
In the 20 years I’ve worked as a therapist the first question I have most often been asked is, ‘How can therapy help me?’ And it’s a question I still find difficult to answer. My own personal experience and my work with clients tells me it does, but exactly how is much harder to pinpoint.
Perhaps the most fundamental reason is not being alone with our most hidden self, having a confidential listening ear, someone you feel you can tell anything to and not be judged or rejected. Family and friends too often want to fix the problem, and we don’t want to burden them with our troubles.
But as well as this, with a therapist there can develop a deeper understanding of life experiences and reactions. Patterns we understand are easier to let go off. The words of a psychodynamic therapist, Antonella Bonetti resonate for me. She uses the metaphor of a messy canvas, covered in a mix of colours and shapes. Looking at the picture some areas make sense, some don’t. Some are pleasant and some painful to look at. The therapist stands alongside the client in witnessing the picture and making sense of the whole of it. Over time the more painful parts become more manageable and, as Bonetti writes. ‘The initial confusing canvas may be transformed into a very different work of art.’
We all have our innate wisdom and healing capacity, but sometimes we can lose touch with it and it becomes blocked. We then repeat painful and destructive patterns, or we become lost in depression.
With the guidance of the therapist we also focus on how we are in the present moment, through body sensation, thought and imagination. This enables us to see how our choices arise in each moment about how we live our lives. We start to see that in each moment there is the possibility of doing things differently, of making the canvas look as we really want it to.
If we can develop a deep awareness we can understand more of the messy shapes in the picture of our life, and can penetrate and transform stuck patterns. With the therapist alongside, the client can learn to be their own guide, using their awareness to allow insight to arise and self-compassion. And ultimately feel much less alone.
2020 has been such a challenging year for many of us. It is too easy to get lost in the messy difficult aspects of it. All of us can benefit from the space to step back from it, to not feel so alone and gain a perspective on the whole picture.
If you want to get in contact to discuss how therapy might help you, you are welcome to call 07833 191041 for a free brief chat. Or visit psychotherapyinsuffolk.com. The Natural Health Centre is open and we look forward to welcoming you there!