While Susan was mowing her yard on a beautiful spring day, she accidentally stepped into a hole and twisted her ankle. Though it was painful, Susan continued to cut the grass because she had a long list of things to do that day, and did not have time to stop. As Susan went about her errands for the day, she noticed that her ankle was starting to swell and the pain intensified. She told herself that it was nothing, and she just needed to push through the discomfort.
By the time she arrived home later that evening, the pain was intense. She reasoned that since she had been walking on it this long already, another few hours wouldn’t matter. After all, she still had dinner to make, laundry to do, and kids to bathe. When she awoke the next morning, her ankle was black and blue, and so swollen she could barely put her shoe on. But she pressed on, ignored the pain, and continued to walk on her injured ankle for another week.
Eventually, Susan could not walk and was forced to go to the doctor to get help. The doctor informed her that she had a badly sprained ankle that would require her to apply ice, elevation, and rest for it to return to its proper functioning. Her doctor also added that if she had come to him for assistance earlier, the sprain would not be nearly so pronounced, and her recover time not nearly so great. Susan was in so much pain that she took the doctors suggestions. She rested, and took care of herself. And within days, her ankle was fully functional again.
Your emotional and spiritual health is no different than Susan’s ankle. Most people who are struggling with a challenge in their life simply put their head down and plunge forward, hoping it will just go away if they ignore it long enough. They tell themselves they are complaining about nothing, that other people have it worse, they don’t have time to address it, or this is just how life is. So they continue limping along, tolerating the chronic discomfort until eventually, like Susan, they can no longer function in their life in a productive, sustainable way. It is at this point that many people arrive in my office for the first time. Their level of despair is so great that they do not see another way to go forward without some assistance.
Here’s how therapy can help.
Much like a medical professional, my role as a therapist is to assess your situation and give you the tools you need to facilitate healing. A huge piece of that healing happens as you and I develop a relationship based on trust, safety, and mutual respect. Many people do not have experience being connected to others in this way, as relationships have been painful, difficult, disappointing, or unfulfilling. Almost everyone has parts of themselves that they dislike, criticize, judge, ignore, or just plain wish would go away. The result of doing this is that we do not fully love, embrace, and accept all of who we are. If we are not fully loving toward ourselves, it is not possible to be loving to people in our lives. So we tend to criticize, judge, get angry at or disillusioned with those people we care about. Not surprisingly, this creates all sorts of relationship issues. So the primary focus of the work that i do with people is to help them heal their relationship with themselves. We do not or become better when we are being attacked or provoked or judged, yet this is how we treat ourselves. You and I will work together to give yourself the kindness, forgiveness, and compassion that makes change possible and sustainable. From that place of self love, you are able to create a life filled with joy, richness and peace, And you don’t have to wait until you are emotionally crippled to get started. Start where you are now. There will never be a “right” time. Life will always get in the way. You are worth committing to and investing in.
I have included some common thoughts my clients have to make it easy for you to identify if therapy might be right for you. I hope you find these helpful:
All I do is go to work and come home. There must be more to life than this.
I want to stop yelling at my children/ spouse, but I don’t know how
I’ve tried therapy before and it did not work for me. This time will not be any different.
My relationships never seem to work out. I keep repeating the same patterns even though I promised myself this time will be different.