At this writing I have been in practice as a psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, and counselor for over forty years. I know how scary therapy can be. I remember when I was in therapy myself how my stomach would tighten and my heart rate would go up as I approached many sessions. I somehow knew that my therapist was going to lead me into a new memory that would challenge my courage. I was afraid of being judged, of having chosen a therapist that was lacking in compassion or skill, or of remembering something in my past that was just too painful to face. Some times I was right about a therapist who lacked skill or whose heart was simply not present. But when I found someone who had skill, compassion, patience, and insight I stuck with them. Yes, there were times when I wanted to skip my next session. But I stuck to it and found a gold mine of understanding and healing.
After over forty years of private practice I have learned to spot those who give lip service to therapy and those who have the courage and will to take the journey. And it is a journey, an adventure that compares to no other. It is scary and it is wonderful all at once. Those who are not ready or are just unwilling to face their demons cheat themselves out of what could be a wonderful life. They will set an appointment then text or email and sometimes leave a telephone message in my off hours saying they have to cancel but that they will call later to reschedule. They don’t. Sometimes they will call and expect to get voice mail and accidentally get me. Then they will have to lie to my “face.” It is uncomfortable for both of us because we both know the truth. I don’t challenge them. I allow them to have their way out. I decided long ago not to try to swim up stream with such folk. But I will dive deep, dog paddle, and swim like the dickens for those who have the courage and faith to allow me to help them.
Often there is a session that is particularly telling. It may be when my client sees for the first time that they alone have to face something in their past or in their own behavior. I can tell by their body language and how the speak that this is an important session and I pray that they have the courage to continue. It’s important to stay in therapy even when you’re scared because the very next session or even the very next moment in therapy may get you through a wall you thought to be impenetrable. And on the other side is glorious freedom. If you have found a capable therapist don’t quit even if you’re really scared. Talk about it. Allow your therapist to gently help you through. You can and will survive and doors that were once shut to you will be open wide.