I have great appreciation for the therapists in my life who have helped me see myself more clearly; for the therapists who have listened deeply from their heart and soul; for the therapists who have seen the best in me when I didn’t see it in myself; for the therapists who have helped me discover and nurture a version of me that has a richer relationship with myself, deeper inner resolve, and more authentic inner joy.
A really great therapist hangs out with us in spaces within our heart, mind, and soul that most people just can’t meet us in or stay in with us. For that one hour, they give themselves over to *our* inner process. The focus is on us. They give us their intense presence. They create space within their psyche for us to experience our own depths.
How many people in our lives listen to us fully without an agenda, without inserting themselves into the conversation, without getting anxious or distracted or defensive, or without projecting their thoughts and opinions onto us? How many places in our lives do we honestly get to explore the depths of our own mind and life circumstances?
It would be wonderful if we could all hold that kind of space for each other and be truly non-sexually intimate, without any agenda, but the reality of it is most people in our lives just don’t have the time and capacity to “go there” with us. A really great therapist “goes there” with us, because that’s where our personal evolution lies. That’s what they are in service of, so that’s where they go.
As a result of the process, we might find ourselves going to spaces within ourselves that we didn’t even know existed. Feelings, thoughts, inner demons, memories, desires, instincts, impulses, fears, insecurities, hopes, dreams. In the deep depths of the ocean of our inner being.
That might feel like uncharted territory for us. It might feel vulnerable. We might feel seen in a way we never have before. We might feel safe emotionally and psychologically, maybe even for the first time ever. We might fall in love with this person who has helped us see ourselves in this way. We might feel attached to this person who has brought this side of us out.
However, they are just reflecting us back to ourselves. They are holding up a clear and calm mirror for us. And because of that, we are actually falling in love with ourselves. It’s who they are bringing out in us that we are falling in love with.
If therapy is creating this type of feeling in us — where we feel vulnerable, intimate, and engaged — then it’s doing its work. Our task as great clients, I believe, is to not get too caught up in the feeling, but rather use the feeling as a catalyst for our personal evolution.
Use that emotional energy to fuel our process of self-discovery, transformation, and evolution into a more realized version of ourselves. That’s what therapy is in service of, and that’s the greatest gift we can give ourselves, our therapists, and the world we live in at large.
As a disclaimer, I’m aware that there are many different types of therapy out there and not all therapists are trained to offer this kind of presence I’m referring to. Also, the intimacy is generally one-way, because the therapist is not necessarily revealing themselves, and this can create a power imbalance.
Finding a therapist that holds space for us in this way, honors our vulnerability, and does not take advantage of it is a true gift.
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