What's hiding in your wardrobe? A counsellors guide to your mind
Asking for help is the bravest thing anyone can do. Getting in touch with a counsellor is never a sign of weakness. It is a sign of great strength. To look in the mirror. To explore hidden parts of yourself. To ask difficult questions of yourself and hear the answers.
When I think of my mind, I imagine a whole host of rooms and a therapist holding my hand and walking around. We look at the rooms and decide where we want to go.
There is often a room that I don't want to enter. It's locked and it's dusty. I have no desire to go within it, let alone unpack the wardrobe that stores boxes of difficult memories that lie within.
But my counsellor holds my hand and, together, we open the door.
We explore the room and unpack memories and lay them all over the floor. My counsellor never leaves my side and, together, we sort through it all. Sometimes I cry, sometimes I'm angry and throw the imaginary box across the room and sometimes I'm so scared to look inside. But my counsellor helps me. Guides me. Shows me the techniques I need to look in these dark places and assures me, they won't leave me alone in the room.
Amazingly, during the week I find myself tidying up the boxes all by myself. My counsellor has left the door open and the light switched on and it's not as frightening as I first thought it may be.
I wouldn't describe it as easy, but I'd definitely describe it as worth it.
In short-term work, we focus on one room. In long-term work, we sort out the whole house.
Life continues and the rooms and wardrobes, at times, may get messy again. A box that I feel I've dealt with tips out and empties itself all over the floor. I slip up on the items that have fallen out. A door to another room flies open unexpectedly and I'm lost in which direction to turn next.
Each time this happens, I remember the techniques my counsellor shared with me and begin to tackle these issues once again.
At times I feel stuck or I've forgotten how to cope and I return and ask for their help again. And my counsellor, once again, takes me by my hand. With empathy, understanding, kindness and clarity and helps me work through the rooms again.
This is how I imagine working with my counsellor. This is how I hope my clients experience their work with me.
I know how hard it is at times, to look through a box that was pushed to the back of a wardrobe that you never wanted to look at again. But that box of memories, of pain, of hurt, of unshed tears, takes up room in our mind whether we acknowledge it or not and, by taking control of it, we take control of ourselves too.
Going to counselling isn't a sign of weakness. It's a sign of great courage and it's always an honour to be a counselling companion with anyone who wants to take the journey and do the work together.