From the Other Side
Hello from the other side. I must have called a thousand times… -Adele & Greg Kurstin
I read somewhere that Adele sees this song as being as much about connecting with herself as anyone else. This is such a powerful song for me, because it reminds me of the relationship between therapist and client. When you make the decision to enter treatment, you are asking someone else to look in on your life from the outside…to do her best to call out to you, join with you, and help you to make things better…for as long as it takes.
Ideally, the therapist will provide you with deep understanding and helpful information that you will be able to receive and incorporate into your life and relationships. He or she is on the other side of your pain, reaching out to you in powerful ways to help you acknowledge it and move through it. That’s why it’s so important for the therapist to be attuned to your needs as a client. A seasoned therapist is able to listen emphatically, follow closely, take the lead when necessary, pose incisive questions, provide timely interpretations… and also wait. Sometimes the waiting is most important. A person who has experienced trauma may need extra time with the therapist to build trust (as well as coaching to be able to help regulate emotions as they arise), before she is able to talk about her experiences. The therapist may even be the first person to truly say, “I’m sorry” for your pain.
Perhaps it sounds ironic, but it’s not all that uncommon for a client to be ready for therapy and yet not ready for therapy at the same time. Being brave enough to initiate the therapy process is a fantastic start. Having the ability to do the work and see it through to the end is something else entirely (read: everything). I think that sometimes people come into therapy with the feeling of…I can’t not do therapy any longer. It’s kind of like going to the dentist. For some people, it’s not until they can’t sleep at night because of the unbearable pain of a toothache that they book the emergency dental appointment. The difference is that, with dentistry, a dentist does all the work for you while you’re under anesthesia; whereas, with psychotherapy, a therapist partners with you and helps guide you through your own journey –pain included.
So, what are some of the most common sources of pain that cause us to seek therapy?
- Grief and Loss (death of a loved one)
- Addictions (smoking, gambling, alcohol, drugs)
- Anxiety (generalized anxiety, OCD, PTSD, panic attacks, social anxiety)
- Major Life Events (divorce, job loss, accident)
- Eating Disorders (anorexia, bulimia, binge eating)
- Anger Management
- Parenting Issues
- Low Self Esteem
It’s also not uncommon for someone to initially come in for one issue (let’s say anxiety), and for that to turn out to be merely a symptom of another problem altogether (like trauma). I say, whatever gets you in the door is reason enough. As a grad student, I was required to seek counseling as part of my education; the idea being that it’s impossible to be an effective therapist, if you’ve never been a patient. Once I began the therapeutic process, I found that I had a lot to talk about and work through.
Having someone reach out to me from the other side was so affirming of who I am as a person, as well as my choice to become a therapist. If you feel ready to work with someone on the issues that are causing you pain, please contact Life Enhancement Counseling Services in Orlando today at 407-443-8862 to schedule an appointment.