I promise I’m not going to blog all about my therapy. I mean, this blog basically already is therapy, but I’m sure some things will be said in the therapist’s office that probably shouldn’t see the light of day. But I will blog about insights and experiences that I think will be valuable to other people.
This one’s for my readers who have never been to therapy.
Here’s one way you can tell it was probably a good idea to go to therapy: If you start crying before the therapist has even said anything besides hello, that probably means you need therapy.
I said, through my tears, to the therapist, “I feel so relieved to be here.”
We spent the hour talking about what brought me there and a bit about my family background and other significant relationships in my life. At one point she asked me if I woke up tomorrow and everything was how I wanted it to be, what would that look like.
That sent me off into a whole big fit of tears. Thinking about it now, I am reminded of one night when I was still married and living in Maine, and I was riding in the car with my husband and beginning to describe for him the different life I wanted for myself. It was the first time I had said out loud any of the desires that eventually led me to where I am in my life now. And I remember crying so hard because I was so afraid to speak those dreams. It is so painful to hope for things you don’t believe you’ll ever have, and at that time everything I was saying seemed impossible.
But those things weren’t impossible. And some of those dreams came true.
I hadn’t realized, until today, the extent to which I had stopped believing in the dreams that haven’t come true yet.
I sort of already knew what cognitive behavioral therapy was, but the therapist explained it to me like this: First you change your thoughts. That changes your feelings. And that changes your actions. The therapist’s role is to help you identify the unhelpful, untrue, limiting thought patterns (you know, that mental tape recorder I sometimes talk about) that don’t serve you and help you change them.
The therapist said, “I can tell you are a thinker.”