What is the experience of psychotherapy like?
It is different for everyone, but I think it is fair to say that it always involves a journey into the unknown in some way.
From the first moment of meeting, the therapist and client begin to make a relationship, to build understanding and trust.
The client shares their experience of their challenges and of what they want to get from the therapy. The therapist listens and absorbs and aims to step into their client’s world as fully as possible so that the client can feel that someone is really alongside them in their struggle.
The client begins to feel accepted for who they are – even when they show parts of themselves they thought no-one should ever see.
The therapist works to shed light on the nature of the client’s difficulty; to create a framework for thinking about it. This illumination of the problem often helps to normalize it so that it feels less overwhelming.
The therapist shares tools for working through the problem and this, too, brings relief and hope.
As progress is made, the client’s understanding and experience of themselves, their challenges and their goals change. The therapy evolves and adapts accordingly.
The client’s confidence in the process, in themselves and their therapist, grows. The relationship between the client and therapist deepens.
At some point the client may look back on the journey they have travelled and marvel at how far they have come and how much their outlook and experiences have changed since they started.
The client could never have foreseen that they would find themselves in this new place. Nor could the therapist. It is a journey travelled together, where the destination is co-created by both parties.