Take your time
I've written before about how long therapy takes but I‘m returning to it. Why? Because perhaps my understanding has deepened or shifted and maybe, therefore, I have something else to say.
Many people hope that counselling will be a six session hit and for some this is true; six sessions and you‘re sorted. Usually this is possible because you have a very specific and current issue you need to explore. A problem making itself known in the present that has its roots in the distant past, however, will almost certainly take longer to understand and resolve. In this case, the volume of experience is much, much greater; going back over decades, probably.
Getting to know such extensive terrain in less than six hours just isn‘t realistic. We‘ll be able to look at a particular area in depth or start to familiarise ourselves with the surface of a larger area but we can‘t do both so quickly. And we need both depth and breadth of self-knowledge to really understand what‘s going on and why we struggle.
If we can accept that it‘s a long process and, crucially, if we can accept that we are valuable enough to warrant such an investment of time, money and - at times - discomfort as difficult emotions are brought to light, we‘ve got a chance. We need to relax into the process and to trust that the therapist is on our side. This takes time.
And sometimes a break from therapy is what we need. Maybe we‘ve gone as far as we can for the time being and we need a chance for what we‘ve learned about ourselves to settle and become a part of us. More questions may come later; different difficulties may arise or the same one may begin to repeat itself in a different way. It doesn‘t mean that therapy has failed; quite the reverse: it means it‘s time to consider some more. Every time we embark on another voyage of self-discovery, we‘re peeling away another layer, like an onion. It could be with the same therapist or with a new one - it‘s your choice. Like my returning to this subject in this article, maybe your understanding of yourself has deepened or shifted and you have something else to say.
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Dr Kornilia Givissi, Counselling Psychologist (HCPC Reg, DCounsPsy)July 17th, 2017
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Imi Lo: Psychotherapist, Art Therapist, Supervisor (MMH,UKCP,HCPC,MBPsS)March 29th, 2015
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