In working with children, teens and adults in therapy, there are some things that just continue to come up. And that is – what is therapy really? When I sit down with clients, one of the first questions I ask is..”are you nervous?” And most who have never been to counseling or therapy reply… “yes”. And this is where the fun begins.
I then have the honor and privilege of sitting in a quiet space, face to face with an individual and be influential in one’s first impression of therapy. “Shake it off,” I say. This is probably the safest place you’ll ever be with the weirdest setup. Talking to someone who you don’t know from a can of paint. But a situation so weird and strange can mentally unarm some of the most overwhelming armed. You see, therapy isn’t just a a place to go and “talk”. Things unseen happen in therapy.
In therapy, you get to unload stuff that you’ve been carrying either all day, for weeks or even years. It could be as simple as what happened in the workplace, or what happened at school to “I can’t stand my mother-in-law.” Just the mere act of moving things that have been running through your head to speaking of it in a safe atmosphere allows you to clear space in your head.
Place of validation or challenge
At some level, we all need validation. We all need to feel like we’re not the only ones thinking this. Therapy offers a place where you can be validated and at times challenged about ways of thinking. Imagine having a place to go where you’re threatened and can really experience as if someone else gets it.
Guidance and direction
It can be a crazy world – whether you are a 5 year old in a new school, a teenager who just lost a best friend, or an adult who just needs an ounce more of motivation. We at some point in life will find that we feel lost. We’ll want someone to pull us out and help guide us. We will want someone we trust. Building an alliance with a therapist offers a way to that trust and leads to trust guidance.
Reflection and mirrors
Every day we get up, we look in the mirror and check our outward appearance. When’s the last time you took a real hard look at the internal appearance? It can go unnoticed if sometimes we don’t have the right people in our lives who offer honest mirrors. But therapy allows you (without being judged) to hear what you speak and offer your own best chance at fairly critiquing self.
Therapy can offer all these things and more. And it doesn’t always have to be something wrong for therapy to work. Therapy can be a place for self development and growth as well as “fixing problems.” What can seem a nervous experience at first can turn out to be the first step toward a new journey.