I could give you no advice but this:
to go into yourself and to explore the depths
from which your life wells forth.
Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet
There’s a wide variety of reasons people seek counseling. But it always requires courage to take that first step.
Some people use therapy like a personal trainer for the soul.
They long for a meaningful, passion filled life and use psychotherapy as a tool to keep them on the cutting edge of their growth and maturity. Sessions may include bringing stories of challenges they face in their relationships, career or personal life. They ask the therapist to walk through those stories with them, to observe the process and help identify personal blind spots and to metabolize difficult truths they may discover about themselves. The therapist can help monitor these important topics over time and keep them on track.
Others use therapy to deepen their personal faith.
Counseling becomes a means of developing a “double knowledge,” the awareness that to know God, we must know ourselves, and to know ourselves, we must know God. For many, therapy helps them explore their own personal depths, and through that knowledge, grow deeper in their relationship with God.
Still others use therapy to work through a specific area of their life that has become intolerable to them.
Anxiety, stress, depression, difficult relationships, grief, addictions, abuse, divorce, loss of energy, uncontrollable behaviors…the list goes on and on. The common thread is an uncertainty of how to move through a painful issue. People can use the help of a caring, trustworthy professional to progress through the difficulty and come out the other side.
Sometimes only a couple sessions are needed. Simply naming the struggle and getting a fresh perspective can help people make the necessary course correction.
More often, people find that significant change requires more than a few minor adjustments to their thinking and behavior. They discover the issues that brought them into therapy have deeper roots in their personal story and past relationships. They see patterns of living and styles of relating that are beneath the surface, patterns that have held them back from becoming the type of person they want to be.
Exploring our depths is both richly satisfying and potentially painful. We have hidden parts of ourselves from others – and from ourselves. There’s often a good reason for that. Therapy provides an opportunity to slowly step into these areas, to accept them for what they are and to use them for our growth and healing.
Those who are willing to do the hard work of therapy find tremendous benefit. They come out of therapy grounded, solid, comfortable with who they are and better able to love others and themselves.