Therapy is an exceptional place and time. Where else can we make sense, stop making sense, feel, not feel, connect, disconnect, understand and not understand -- and it all leads to things getting clearer and better?
Puzzling out why things have broken down and how to deal with them on your own can be discouraging. Friends can help, but only so much.
The point of psychotherapy is to give you some experienced help. We usually don’t really know what we’re made of, what our strengths are, or why problems came up and how to best sort them out. It's confusing territory. A careful and non-judgmental look at it all with someone who's familiar with this invisible scene helps a great deal. It's freeing and reassuring. By engaging in a therapy relationship, you'll be able to say things you couldn't say anywhere else. You'll be able to see and appreciate parts of you that you didn't know were there. You can look at your thoughts and beliefs and patterns of relating that may have naturally fit in the past, but now make life hard. You can explore things that need exploring, with someone who's on your side.
What's the matter?
Like many people, you might have tried to cope with what hurts by relying on work, food, sleep, drugs, self-harm or some other way of fooling the pain and confusion for a bit longer. You might do your best not to think about it, or you might try medication or self-help books -- and maybe that helps -- but the trouble still doesn’t go away.
It's a cliché, but it's also undeniable that our past shapes our present, and how we were treated before shapes our future relationships. Our formative relationships can go on haunting us for a very long time. There's not much else that's as burdensome, limiting or painful. And it's often impossible to undo these powerful ties -- even to see them clearly -- by oneself.
Relational therapy is specially designed to alleviate confusion and suffering by giving us a grasp of both what's gone wrong and of what helps. It does this in the here-and-now and in every session.
How relational therapy works
Whether you feel you know what's bothering you or not, the thing to do is to start talking. There's no wrong thing to say.
If you're open to using art materials, we can do that too. Art in therapy isn't about making nice pictures, it's about making marks. If it's intimidating to start making or saying things, I'll help make it easier. I won't judge you, and I won't analyze you or your artwork.
You don't need any prior experience, you don't have to explain anything, you don't have to feel articulate (or know how to draw or paint), and you don't even have to know what you mean.
I'll work with you to make the job of expressing yourself as safe and as useful as possible. We'll see what comes up, and we'll make connections between past and present that weren't visible before. While listening, paying attention and offering my response, I keep in mind that everyone repeats patterns that were once useful but over time can make things worse.
We'll explore your experiences as carefully and as creatively as possible. And we'll see how our therapy relationship reflects other dynamics in your life. This will help show you what you need, and to make your relationships -- with yourself and with others -- safer, richer, more settled, or more alive.
This process may seem vague or abstract until you experience it for yourself. All you need for therapy to work is a willingness to learn from experience, and an openness to new thoughts and feelings. I'll help you find ways to express what's going on, what hurts, what helps, to choose what does and doesn't need to change, and to start making that happen.