If someone is struggling mentally and emotionally, they can end up looking for a therapist to work with. They might have been in a bad way for a little while or this might be an experience that is relatively new.
If this is not something that they have just started to experience, it is good that they have taken the next step. Suffering in silence won’t have served them; it will have only made things worse.
The next step
Once they have found someone who is suitable for them and have booked their first session, they could be looking forward to finally doing something about what is going on for them. During this time, they can talk about what their challenges are and what is going on inside them.
While they are doing this, their therapist is likely to be very understanding and make it clear in one way or another that what they are going through is normal. There will then be no need for them to be ashamed.
The next Part
When it comes to what comes next can all depend on the type of therapist they are working with. If they are working with a cognitive behavioural therapist, for instance, they could end up focusing on their ‘negative’ thoughts and beliefs.
Focusing on and changing what is taking place in their mind, along with their behaviour, will be seen as the way for them to change their life. After the weeks pass and they continue to work with the same therapist, they could find that their life gradually improves.
A Big Difference
So, before they started having therapy their life might not have been very fulfilling, with them being unable to move forward in a number of areas. Additionally, they might have felt pretty helpless at times and often been depressed.
Thanks to the work that they have been doing during their sessions and outside of them, they could feel more hopeful and alive. Also, they could have started to feel better about themselves.
The other Side
Before long, they could decide that they no longer need to work with a therapist. As the days, weeks and months pass, they could continue to feel good about themselves and both their inner and their outer world could continue to improve.
Then again, it might not be long before they go back to how they were before. As a result of this, they could soon feel stuck and go back to feeling helpless and depressed.
What’s going on?
At this point, it could seem as though they just need to keep doing the same thing and before long, they will get back on track. One way of looking at this would be to say that they have just hit a hurdle and that this is part of life.
Now, after getting back on the horse and applying what they have learnt, they could find that it doesn’t take long before they are back on track. Then again, this approach might not work.
What they could end up doing at this point is to arrange to have more sessions with a therapist. If so, it might not be long until they are back on track and are able to function in the same way as they did when they were last having therapy.
Due to this, they could believe that this proves that the therapy they are having is very effective. But, as they are in a better place when they have therapy, this is to be expected.
However, although it may seem as if the therapy they are having is very effective and they just need to keep having it, what if there is more to it? What if the reason they are in a better place when they are having therapy is because of who the therapist represents to another part of them?
What if, at a deeper level, the level of their unconscious, their therapist represents a parental figure who cares about them? And, the reason this has such a big impact on their well-being is that both their mother and father were emotionally unavailable and were generally indifferent to their needs and feelings.
The power of transference
Not being brought up by parents who cared would have deeply wounded and deprived them. Their developmental need to be cared for and loved, among other needs wouldn’t have disappeared; they would have been repressed along with the pain that they experienced.
Since that stage of their life, they will have been unconsciously looking for what they missed out on. So, when they started working with a therapist and this was someone who was empathetic and compassionate, a big part of them would have believed that they were finally receiving what they missed out on.
This shows that there was what was going on for them at a conscious level and what was going on for them at an unconscious level. When it comes to their unconscious mind, this part of them won’t realise that this stage of their life is over or that another adult is not their parent.
Still, while this part of them will have projected the mother and father that they wanted onto the therapist and this will have allowed them to feel better, it will only be temporary. It will be too late for them to meet these unmet developmental needs and this is why, once they stop having therapy, they will return to how they were before.
For them to no longer try to meet their unmet development needs, they are going to have pain to face and work through and unmet developmental needs to experience. This is something that will take courage, patience, and persistence.
If someone can relate to this, they may need to reach out for external support. This is something that can be provided with the assistance of a therapist or healer.
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Oliver JR Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 26 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.