My view of therapy is that it is the opportunity to tell your story to someone who will listen without judgement and who will help you feel heard and understood. A therapist can empathise with what it’s like to walk in your shoes, identifying unhelpful patterns in your life that trip you up and keep you stuck, and can help you find ways to map out a more positive direction in your life.
Stories are very important in helping us to understand ourselves. Our identities can be wrapped up in the stories we’ve always told ourselves, and the stories that others have told about us. Being in therapy helps us hear those stories out loud, gives us a chance to reflect on whether those stories are still relevant in our lives, and also gives us the opportunity to tell the story in a different way – and with a different ending. Therapy can help us understand how other people have scripted a part for us, and can bring us to awareness that we can choose to author our own lives.
While I have trained integratively, there is one theorist who informs my work more than others, and he is Carl Jung. His theory is that we have a persona (the accepted face we present to the world) and a shadow (the parts that we hide from the world and from ourselves). The process of therapy is to look at both our persona and our shadow – our light as well as our darkness – and to work on integrating these different parts of ourselves into our lives.
I can work with what is emerging for you symbolically in your life through dreams and synchronicities – and encourage you to find expression for the creative parts of you that have been dormant, denied or feared for years.
Research says that the healing in therapy is not what the therapist or client does, but in what emerges through the relationship. It is having someone to listen – same time, same place, every week, – that can help us reflect on our own experiences and have that safe space to explore what is important to us. If we’ve never had consistency or unconditional love in our early lives, then that experience alone of one-to-one therapy can provide the conditions necessary for fundamental or even subtle changes in our lives.