The journey (about the process of relating)
Modern day life is all about achievements, solutions and how to fix things. It becomes problematic when we approach our inner life with this attitude: "I'm feeling anxious, depressed or angry, or I have relationship problems etc. What is the solution, how can it be fixed?" The therapist is sometimes seen a bit like a mechanic, expected to turn a few screws, fine-tune some frequencies, adjust a few bits and pieces, so that we will function properly and without disturbances again. We're all solution-orientated and this can work to a degree but chances are that we might miss the point. Therapy is about the process which results in change, not primarily about a "solution". And: therapy is about relating.
If the relationship between client and therapist isn't working, if there is no proper connection between the two, the therapy won't work even if the client is willing and the therapist highly qualified. Every single problem that is brought to therapy has to do with relating in one way or another. And relating is a process, not an achievement or a solution. Relationships can't be fixed by finding the solution.
Relationships need patience, sometimes endurance, stamina; they need communication, a lot of input and giving, listening, speaking the truth, showing interest or putting your foot down sometimes. To work on and live in a relationship is like doing house work: it never ends. There is no clean, final solution; it's an ongoing, never ending process of tending and caring. Sometimes we experience happy spells, sometimes rough patches, sometimes we feel exasperated and think: What's the point? - The point is that living in a relationship (any kind of relationship) changes us. It's like a piece of iron being heated in the fire, then hammered into shape, which sounds painful, I know. And sometimes it is painful, as you know from your own experience.
Living in relationship is a process that makes us grow up and mature. So is therapy, if it works. It's a process that changes us and helps us to discover the unexpected and surprising about ourselves, the healing that comes from within. The process of relating, of therapy, of life is like a growing tree: it makes branches, and out of those branches others grow and out of these new ones yet others grow. We can't grow the top branches before we have grown all the others in between. Some relationships are ended when they shouldn't be, some are continued when they should be ended, some are continued, they mature and grow and so do the people in it. Whatever we do, it's all part of the process of life which will change us whether we are willing or not. It's the journey that matters. The process is the solution.
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About Judith Schuepfer-Griffin
My name is Judith, and I'm writing in the way I do because I would like to make psychological thinking more accessible for everyone. I have noticed that it often helps to create a context within which new ideas make more sense. With my articles I'm trying to create that context and hopefully also an enjoyable reading experience.