Stay in the Chair…It Will Happen: For Clients Unsure of the Process of Long-Term Therapy.
A very common first question by clients who haven’t been in therapy before is “How long will this take?” The question of time and commitment is important, as belief systems are sometimes centered around ideas of ‘needing help’. As a therapist, I have experienced, many times, clients limiting their growth simply because they want it to happen now, and have a hard time believing in the concept of time.
So when the question of time comes up, I usually have a standard answer that educates people in the process of therapy, but one time I had a little fun and said, “You have had 42 years making you who you are today and I can assure you that if you commit to coming here weekly, for the next 42 years, you will love the transformation you can make!” At first he thought I was serious and his face turned sullen, white. Once I started laughing (he had the personality I could do this with), the color came back to his face and we had good laugh.
I wish I had a magic pill that can bring light and laughter to the dark places people so often stay, but I don’t. What I can offer is the promise that if you commit yourself to a process of transformation, a journey toward healing, and you ‘stay in the chair’, even when you don’t want to show-up, when something unconscious is pulling you elsewhere, you will reunite with your authentic self and start to live the life you were meant to live.
It takes time. Time to uncover the layers of protections and defenses you had to learn to use to adapt to the environment you were born into. Time to process your fear, anger, and sadness directly related to experience you had. Time to understand your role in relationships and how you just unconsciously recreate what was modeled for you. Time to reconnect with your natural/ authentic being, once the space is safe enough, and discover how you were meant to live a life full of love, laughter, accomplishment, and healthy relationships. Time for your new awareness of others to grow and open your eyes to the way the world works, time for you to find a new place where you fit in and can be loved for your authentic self, and time for new experiences that show you that all of this is possible!
So…if you just stay in the chair without limiting your growth, all of this is possible.