Therapy can be a place where we allow ourselves to reflect and examine the issues that we have avoided for any length of time. Sometimes we do not know where to begin in this process. Clients in this practice, are treated with unconditional positive regard. You are clinically supported to explore the deepest fears, emotions, concerns, struggles, and even shortcomings in your life. This is not a time to self-ridicule or demoralize yourself. It is a time to find the strength to turn your challenges into moments of growth and change. In therapy, we often think that if we are seeing a counselor, then we must be crazy, or defective, or just plain damaged. This simply isn't true, and more so not even likely to the extent that you might have created that idea in your own mind. Yes, people go to see a counselor when something is wrong. When was the last time you heard someone say, "Oh, I have no problems at all, but decided to see a counselor anyway"? It doesn't usually happen. Sure, we have friends and family that can be there for us, and those supports are invaluable. But sometimes, you need to have the insight of someone who has the ability to be objective and clinical in the assessment of your concerns.
When you elect to participate in the therapy process, you are in fact giving yourself permission to chart a path that has the potential (often based on your own effort), to lead you into a life where you see yourself differently, and you see your life differently too. Maybe you quit smoking, or drinking, or gambling. Maybe you find the ability to forgive, to move forward and direct your focus into things that bring you joy. Or perhaps you discover something about yourself that was the one missing piece in your life that answers so many other questions in explaining who you are and how you engage your world. The path of seeking therapy can do those things, if you give yourself the chance to risk yourself in developing a new life of opportunity.
Fear can hold us back from pursuing what we know is of benefit to us. Our inner voice, (call it insight, higher power, deity, or some other word of your choosing), might be trying to speak to you. That inner voice is trying to let you know that there is something good for you if you work at getting out of your own way and can let go of where you are now so that you can arrive at the place that is better. I encourage you to listen to that voice. Follow it, and know that if you can agree with where it wants to take you, and you know that it is for your highest good, then likely it is a road to consider. Call it finding a path to healing, a way to journey into something different that can change you into the person you want to be in life. If you find that therapy can be of benefit in this journey, I stand ready to go on that adventure with you. Reach out. You will indeed find a hand reaching back, ready to help.
Shawn Thomas Berthel M.S., is the owner of Life Path Counseling PLLC, and a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor. He lives in University Place, Washington.