My first visit to a Therapist
Writing this first blog reminds me of the first time I went to a therapist, a mixture of anxious musings and procrastination. I had no idea what it was all about. I just knew I needed to talk to someone but I was terrified of talking to anyone. Would they think me strange or mad or wasting their time? All these ideas coupled with a general societal stigma didn’t help with picking up the phone…no emails back then…shudder…my aching bones…and here I am writing a blog about therapy, about coming to therapy. It’s really not all that scary… he says as he sits in his therapist chair with many hours behind him – but it was for me. However, meeting someone who helps to calm the nervous system with a kind smile, an understanding presence, and a willingness to really listen makes a big difference.
Many of us can find life bloody hard at times. I remember one of the first self-help books I read, The road less travelled had the opening line: “Life is difficult..” and it’s even more so when I bottle things up and do my best to avoid what I’m feeling…and I was really good at that but it stopped working and I had no choice but to feel…hence the need for the smiling face and kind presence…little did I know that initial tentative knocking on the door would lead me on a journey that sees me sitting in a therapists chair writing this blog…
We all have a story, we all have had different experiences and sometimes these impact us even when they may have happened many years ago. Therapy is a process, an act of giving meaning to something, of connection to ourselves, of expression, of exploration, of challenging the negative internal judgements that don’t serve us. This is done with a witness whose role is to listen with empathy, to be present, to be a sounding board, to offer tentative understanding and insight, to challenge and to support. Therapists are trained in the listening process and have a theoretical framework that allows them to connect with the complex tapestry of our lives and help to build an understanding of our experiences.
THE THERAPUTIC RELATIONSHIP
Therapists will work from differing perspectives but what unites them is the therapeutic relationship. We, I… will work my damnedest to understand someone’s experience. And I will do that with empathy. That’s my job. I will try and help make sense and I will explore alternatives. But most importantly I am there to meet someone with compassion and empathy and I believe that this relationship is vital for change to occur within the therapeutic setting.
And here I am finishing this opening blog and wondering how to have a nice shiny paragraph that will leave the reader amazed and astounded by my magical word wizardry. Realising that this is not a realistic thought process, eases my anxiety somewhat, and if what I have written is good enough, well that will be fine….and sure if it’s not good enough…how bad…tis done…
Thanks for reading,