“All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”
A Difficult Road, Often Traveled
Feel cut off from your instincts, disconnected from yourself, suffering great pain?
Wish you could have productive conversations with yourself?
SEEK help…see a therapist!
The first time I saw a therapist, I went because I had problems that I just couldn’t solve myself.
I burst into tears in that first session, and that wonderful therapist said, “Lars, that’s a vote for you.”
Going was the easy part.
The harder part? Continuing. But, I persevered because I was at war with myself, and that internal violence was killing me.
The State of the Patient
Patients have one thing in common. They are fragmented.
An effective therapist doesn’t put the patient back together but provides a presence that facilitates the patient putting himself or herself back together. You GO to therapy as human doing, but you experience therapy as human being.
A Unique Conversation
After I described my feelings, that same wonderful therapist also said:
“That sounds like a conversation between you and you.”
Her active presence, our relationship, and our unique work together helped me put myself back together.
The Therapist’s Function? The Role of a Lifetime
A therapist stands in for the strong part of you until you’re ready to reclaim that role or take it for the first time.
If your parents weren’t THERE for you emotionally, you didn’t develop your own self-advocate providing internal kindness and compassion, the nourishing you’d provide to a loved one or a best friend.
Without the right parenting, you will bend over backward NOT to provide compassion to yourself. Even with the best parenting, sometimes a traumatic disrupts your normally internal advocacy.
Your lack of internal security at some point can break you apart if you aren’t THERE for yourself.
Crisis: Danger and Opportunity
The Chinese character for crisis means both “danger” and “opportunity”. In a crisis, when old habits no longer no longer “defend” you (and not in a good way), and you’re at a loss, that crisis provides something remarkable: Opportunity.
The best part of what drove me to therapy, as for most people, was a readiness to grow. My resistance made the entire process more difficult, yet that very resistance provided an opportunity. A good therapeutic relationship exploits that opportunity for your best benefit.
Mediation Like No Other
No mediation is as important as that needed to bridge the gap between different parts of yourself. After all, who’s with you 24 hours a day? Can you afford NOT to have the best relationship possible with YOURSELF?
If the parts of you not only disagree, but, in the process, insult, frustrate, anger, and criticize each other, your inner life is on quick route to train wreck. A therapeutic relationship that works provides a kind of inner mediation that puts you on the road, however long, for a lifetime’s growth and healing.
The Possibility of Peace
Here’s the best part. Learning to trust your therapist brings you “shalom”, the peace of “wholeness”. Why? Because once you trust the person who is simply an emotional surrogate for your healthiest self, you can begin to trust yourself.
That self-trust allows you to be in charge of your own life, but in a new place, a place that the stuck and stultified person you were couldn’t have found without this painful, yet fertile evolution. The therapist is a selectively vocal, yet predominantly silent partner whose support for you seeps into your soul so that support for yourself from yourself becomes more pervasive, more habitual.
Don’t get scared off by the mistaken notion that we all rise or fall separately. Your family may have nothing but contempt for therapists, deeming patients “weak”, but, the healthiest member of a family is often the one who seeks and continues therapy as long as necessary.
Take courage, seek a guide in the rough waters of your fragmented self, and know that, if you can unflinchingly and fully feel the pain and complete recognition of yourself, you will then be able to feel the joy and self-trust that otherwise would be unavailable.
Best of all, you will be able to kill that Buddha at the side of the road, accountable for your own life in the ultimate sense. And, despite the title of this post, with your work with a therapist, YOU will have saved YOUR OWN life.
Lars Nielsen is a free-lance copywriter whose unique and image-rich selling voice combines the narrative power of his poetry, playwriting, fiction, radio, liturgy, and comedy. Go to www.larsnielsencopywriting.com and see how storytelling and scenarios can successfully reframe the narrative of your business, speeches, ideas, and your life.