One dictionary definition of therapy is “treatment intended to relieve or heal a disorder”.
So, we go to therapy with the belief that there is something wrong, or “disordered” with us and we hope that talking about it in a particular way will heal or at least relieve our “symptoms”? What is it about the way we talk with a therapist that makes it therapeutic? What of Art, Sand Tray and even Animal Assisted therapies? What links these varied approaches?
When we speak with a trained counsellor we are listened to and our feelings accepted and validated, in Art therapy and other creative forms our conscious, critical thinking is bypassed and in equine therapy horses are said to have the ability to recognize our authentic feelings. Each approach has in common the quality of allowing us to access our feelings deeply and express them authentically.
Over time as we experience and reflect on this process we come to know ourselves better, to see our own situations from different perspectives and potentially better understand our reactions and responses. We begin to see ourselves as ordered beings whose thoughts, feelings and actions make sense when fully understood, we may even begin to wonder if we ever were “disordered” in the first place…….
Therapy does not always work for every individual. There are a plethora of different therapies available, each therapist is an individual and so is every client. Every relationship between client and therapist is individual and dynamic, it changes on a moment to moment basis. An experienced therapist, whatever their field, will be skilled in choosing the right intervention at the right time which is what makes working directly with a therapist so valuable – but not flawless.
If finding the right therapy can be a case of trial and error how then do we navigate the abundant world of self-help? Of course, the trial and error aspect is likely to be less expensive in financial terms but if you are feeling distressed the mental and emotional cost of trialing approaches may be too high.
One dictionary definition of resonate is to produce a positive feeling or emotional response. I’m not sure about the inclusion of the word positive but when something resonates for me it is because it has produced some kind of feeling or emotional response. We can be too quick to judge sometimes whether a thing is positive or negative when curiosity can be a sharper tool. When we notice a feeling and get curious about it it’s likely we will learn something about ourselves. In my experience it has been my feelings that have let me know when I have found something which can be useful to me.
In future posts I will be highlighting some of the ideas, theories, books, quotes and exercises that over the years have resonated with me. My hope, of course, is that they will be useful to you too. Allow your feelings to guide you, take nothing that doesn’t serve you and when you find something that does get curious and explore it!