Bumps along the therapy process
The words in this post are based on my observation of what my clients are commonly going through in the process of therapy, but also on my personal journey. I highlight some common stages that people go through (although it does not apply to everyone).
1. Emotional pain
Emotional pain is what drives people to seek therapy. And although sharing the emotional pain (as well as being heard, understood, and gaining a different perspective) does bring a lot of relief, gaining awareness of the roots of the pain can be difficult to accept at the first. A lot of people go through a dip at the beginning of therapy because a lot of emotions buried in the unconscious come to their conscious awareness, and this can feel overwhelming. But this is normal, understandable and can be expected. So, please, do not despair. It will get better and lighter when your thoughts, emotions, and feelings get fully processed.
2. Upset & resentment
What sometimes comes with the awareness of the origins of our pain is a feeling of upset or resentment towards the situation we were in, as well as those who were not able to take care of us in a way that every child deserves. However, the upset and resentment often goes or gets much lighter when the situation and people's behaviours are understood in their context.
3. Understanding, acceptance, compassion and self-compassion
With the understanding of the context in which we grew up, as well as with the understanding of the context in which our caregivers had grown up, comes acceptance, compassion and self-compassion.
4. Letting go
Once we have gained understanding, acceptance and compassion for ourselves (and often others), we are ready to let go of the pain and replace it with different energy that moves us in the direction of our values and goals.
When we start creating a different reality for ourselves, and when we start feeling that we really matter, we start taking care of ourselves in every way - physical, emotional and relational. We start taking care of our mind & body, we are able to set healthy boundaries, and we start seeking different relationships, as well as more meaningful experiences.
6. Disconnection & reconnection
Sometimes, when we create changes in our lives and start seeing the world and ourselves differently, we might start experiencing frustration around how others go about life. We might even start drifting from our significant others and friends because our views, values and ways of living start to be different from theirs. And so, we will leave some people behind, but we might also learn to accept them as they are, and reconnect with them on a different level.