Why do people go for therapy?

Many individuals get to a point in their life when they feel that they cannot cope. They feel overwhelmed by some issues, or lack clarity in some aspects of their life. They may find it hard to discuss matters with someone close to them, and who can be objective and non-judgmental towards them. Approaching a therapist may also be daunting for some, but it may be commonplace for others. The main drive is common to all: to tell your story and gain insight, and guidance, as to how to proceed.

At times we may look to our therapist to give us solutions, to tell us what to do, to resolve our issues and to provide us with a quick fix. However, this is not the case. Nobody is going to save you … nobody is going to tell you what you have to do. Nobody. Apart from you. You are the only one responsible for and capable of resolving and ‘fixing’ your issues.

Why do I pay for therapy then? What use is it to go for therapy?

A therapist has the role to question, challenge and notice things that may not be so evident to you. When you are in a difficult situation, you may find it hard to look at the whole picture and instead focus on one specific aspect only. The therapist helps you to explore, in a safe environment, what is happening. This includes taking into consideration your past; the experiences that you have gone through, the patterns of relating that you have developed, the life scripts you have enacted and the way that the different aspects of your personality may emerge as a response to different individuals and interactions in your life.

Apart from your past, therapy helps you to look into and be present with what is happening now. It helps you to identify what you are going through now, how your body is reacting in the here-and-now. It helps you to ground yourself in the present, identify skills and options that you have available. It gives you a direction to what you want to work on and achieve. To review your progress and adapt accordingly.

Why does it feel like a lot of hard work?

Therapy is not simply a space for the metaphorical vomiting to happen- it is a space where your therapist helps you to pace yourself and find psychological holding. To challenge and to test the boundaries of your comfort zone in order to achieve growth. This means that at times you may feel that your therapist isn’t giving you what you want, isn’t saving you or solving your problems. At times it may feel that therapy is making you feel worse. However, it is important to keep in mind that therapists don’t solve problems, rather they collaborate with clients to work through their issues and to empower them by gaining skills. Therapy is about empowerment and making sure that each individual is able to cope alone and outside of therapy. It is hard work by the client, and even more rewarding due to the fact that the client can take responsibility and ownership for success.

Abigail Church is a Humanistic Integrative Counsellor who works with adults and children through counselling with Willingness. She can be contacted on abigail@willingness.com.mt or call us on 79291817.