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My therapy journey – part two. Saturday April 2, 2016

Therapy's a funny word. I noticed when I wrote the first part of this 'series' (I say series in the loosest sense of the word given its taken me a month to write part two!) there were some comments from Moodscopers saying they weren't comfortable about sitting in a room and talking to a stranger. I wasn't sure I was at first; I thought having therapy meant I was a failure, a broken human. I thought my therapist was going to 'fix' me and after a few sessions I would rise like some kind of born-again being.

But that hasn't happened.

Instead what's come about during the past year of talking to an insightful, compassionate woman every week is that I've slowly taken apart a mismatching jigsaw and put the pieces back where they make more sense. Ditching some that didn't fit, cutting the bumpy bits off others and finding a few that were ok after all, I just needed to look at them with different eyes.

The word therapy comes from the Greek therapia which literally means healing. When I found that out it made me think differently about my own therapy. I realised the view of two people sitting in a room, one spilling their heart out whilst the other nods sympathetically, is outdated. In fact therapy, or healing, can be about talking, or it can be about anything else that brings relief: massage, walking, music, art, friendship, yoga, sport, love, sex, food, sleep, dancing, driving, volunteering... the list is endless.

My own healing process has been a meandering wander taking in lots of the above tools. I couldn't have come this far without the self-discovery of psychotherapy, and neither could I without having spent time listening to music, being loved by my son, climbing mountains and looking at the endless sky, or losing myself in a weekend of life drawing in the Welsh hills. Sometimes I didn't even know something was going to be 'therapy' until I'd done it and thought 'hmmm, that felt nice'.

The Buddhists talk about two strands on the path to enlightenment: wisdom and compassion. Maybe these strands are also the routes to mental wellbeing? The wisdom that comes from self-discovery, magically woven with tender self-care? Maybe therapy is as unique as we are? And maybe its time to write our own prescriptions.

With healing love,

Debs xxx

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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Norman Sat, Apr 2nd 2016 @ 3:48am

Morning Debs!
I am awake and thinking. Yesterday I shook hands on a settlement with my employer. This brings one period to an end and is the beginning of uncertainty. I think my therapy will be writing down my experiences, for the purposes of developing training and advice materials I can make money from delivering, but also to pause and reflect upon the learning I have gained. What doesn't kill us makes us stronger!

Debs Sat, Apr 2nd 2016 @ 1:43pm

Amazing Norman - writing can be so cathartic can't it? I can't tell you how much blogging for Moodscope has helped me. The idea that you can help someone else - connect to them and help them feel heard - is the best therapy I could ever wish for. I look forward to reading more from you on your journey xxx

Madeleine Sat, Apr 2nd 2016 @ 6:35am

For me, as a Catholic, my therapy goes hand in hand with my prayer. Jesus is the greatest Counsellor for me. I pray that my therapist is inspired by the Holy Spirit. For me a the wonderful things in the World reflect God's goodness. Art for example reminds me that God is the greatest Artist and so when I look at a picture of a sky or a person I think of God's creative nature who created the actual sky and each human being. I can then thank and praise God when looking at art.

Debs Sat, Apr 2nd 2016 @ 1:46pm

What a beautiful response Madeleine, I am an artist and I always say to people that my art comes through me, not from me. I create the most incredible work when I shut off my thinking mind and let the lines emerge. Whatever god means to people, having that connection to something greater than ourselves feels like an important part of the healing process so thank you for reminding me of that xxx

Anonymous Sat, Apr 2nd 2016 @ 8:33am

After a very intense and stressful situation I found I was crying and anxious most of the time. It wasn't normal for me and I didn't even recognise what was making me that way, I literally thought I was going mad and didn't know why. Friends and family didn't know either and the best advice I was given was to go to therapy. My therapist saved me by recognising ptsd symptoms and I'm so greatful there are people out there that have a calling to the profession. I couldn't have 'got over it' myself, and friends and family aren't trained in being able to offer more than a kind word or comforting hug. I hope more people look to therapy. Nice walks and painting etc are good distractions that may provide temporary relief but psychotherapy for me provided the cure.

Debs Sat, Apr 2nd 2016 @ 1:48pm

I agree Anon, I could never have come this far on my own. I needed to face a mirror and see what thoughts, behaviours and traits had brought me to the place I found myself. I have been down to the depths of my soul in psychotherapy but wouldn't change it for the world. xxx

Ruth Sat, Apr 2nd 2016 @ 9:50am

Hi Debs. I needed to read your post. I even made a note or two. Thank you. x

Debs Sat, Apr 2nd 2016 @ 1:49pm

Thank you Ruth, that means a lot. I hope you are having a good day and the sun is shining on you xxx

Janet Sat, Apr 2nd 2016 @ 10:14am

Debs i was very moved by your post. I am a therapist and hold in my being that I am along side the other being as best I can a companion in their journey of healing and so absolutely agree that it is not a 'fixing' process. In my healing I have had some brilliant therapists who held, mirrored, challenged me - helping me find my being; losing some of my distortions from early conditioning - and with all the other important things like letting love in, growing my garden it feels like an enlivening process where I am learning to be fully alive as me.

Debs Sat, Apr 2nd 2016 @ 1:54pm

You sound like an incredible therapist Janet, your patients are blessed to have you by their side. I too have had incredible support over the last year or so, I never could have come this far without the trust, love and tenderness I've experienced so my heart-felt thanks goes out to all therapists. Amazing people doing an amazing job. xxxx

Richard Sat, Apr 2nd 2016 @ 11:10am

Debs. By a country mile, this is the best blog I have ever read on Moodscope. Yesterday I discovered "Hoover Therapy". Yes, I know it sounds ridiculous, but it worked.
Thankyou again, and good luck in the future.
Peace and Love, Richard.

Debs Sat, Apr 2nd 2016 @ 1:51pm

Wow, I just cried reading that! I'm so moved you think so, I of course have criticised myself for it being too late, too long, too rambling... but such is the human condition. We are not our thoughts so I let them be and carry on anyway! I love the idea of Hoover therapy ;-) Sounds very meditative. Sending love for a mindful healing day xxxx

Mj Sat, Apr 2nd 2016 @ 2:35pm

Great post. Thank you. Lots of fodder for thinking. I believe the most important part of psychotherapy is a good fit between the therapist and the one (or family) seeking healing & relief from suffering. I am very blessed to say I have that at age 61. The healing journey I have been on for 2.5 years has allowed me to see that life is more wonderful than I ever thought possible. I am open to love, joy, peace of mind and Play for the first time.

I have to say that removing my security blankets so that he could do his healing was almost impossible. Trusting him to see my scars, & open, infected wounds took the most courage and bravery of my rather long life as a trauma victim and survivor. It was worth the long search to find that fit--a Jungian who is brilliant and loving.

Please keep at it every. No one, no trauma history, categorically no one is beyond hope. Trust the process and then trust people. It is worth it.

Margaret from across the Pond.

Debs Sat, Apr 2nd 2016 @ 3:35pm

Margaret, thank you , your reply really spoke to me. I love the idea of the security blankets, they are tricky to remove aren't they? But boy when they come off!! Woo. Like you my life is more wonderful today than I ever thought possible! And like you I encourage everyone to keep going, keeping taking the steps, I never thought I'd see life as worth living but I do now and its magical xxx

The Gardener Sat, Apr 2nd 2016 @ 4:36pm

I went to two psychotherapists in my life. The first 'cured' me of my m-in-law's 25 years of bullying. He said 'why do you put up with it' and I said she was an old lady. My mother had dinned in to me respect for the old however nasty they were. this chap started playing imaginary violins, put a pouffe in the middle of the room and I bunged all the cushions at it, cured. The second, here, could do nothing - no real help with Alzheimer suffering.

Debs Sat, Apr 2nd 2016 @ 6:42pm

How sad that a comment from your mum about how to be around older people had such an effect your life dear TG... but its so often the way, we are conditioned by parents, schools, society and the world at large. It takes something to see all of that conditioning and stand in the face of it, so well done with the cushion throwing!! There are many amazing therapists who I'm sure could help with the current situation, sometimes just having a listening ear to help shoulder the load is enough xxx

g Sat, Apr 2nd 2016 @ 5:32pm

I liked it so much that i went back to read part one.Thank you.

Debs Sat, Apr 2nd 2016 @ 6:43pm

Ahhh - thanks G (blushing now ;-)) xxx

g Sat, Apr 2nd 2016 @ 5:33pm

HO - where is my joke ?

Debs Sat, Apr 2nd 2016 @ 6:43pm

I know! Its quiet in here today, I think Saturdays tend to be a bit like that. Hopefully HO will be back tomorrow xxx

The Gardener Sat, Apr 2nd 2016 @ 6:46pm

Buddhism - wisdom and compassion. Some wisdom I hope I have gleaned from India, experience and lessons learned. Compassion has flown. Mr G has got much worse - I make all allowances possible 'they know not what they do'. He is, again, depriving me of sleep. Respite staff say to his face that he is crucifying me. To the morning nurses (and to me last night) he said I was selfish, cared for nobody and only interested in my own concerns. I should take no notice, 'turn away wrath' but real last straw, but has to be faced every night.

Debs Sat, Apr 2nd 2016 @ 7:41pm

Dear TG, its heartbreaking to hear your life being hijacked like this. I have no experience of anything even vaguely similar so cannot begin to imagine what you are going through .... but.... you deserve a life outside of being a carer. Everyone does. If you are mentally beaten up and physically exhausted by Mr G then no wonder compassion has flown. Where is your compassion for yourself? You are an incredible person and your self-care needs elevating up the to do list. Please take great care of you xxx

The Gardener Sat, Apr 2nd 2016 @ 8:11pm

Thanks Debs, how right you are. I swore, after the yelling of my fath?er and the endless tears of my mother that nobody was going to do that to me. Having an awful day, Mr G has just let the cat into the road, not our cat, the vet's mascot - found her, luckily, terrified, Mr G just brushes it off - we've got her haven't we? No care it was his responsibility - now, we daren't have her again, and we both love the comfort of cats - and she's my crying cushion.

Mary Sat, Apr 2nd 2016 @ 8:49pm

I know well the relief of a feline crying cushion. I am so very sorry you dare not have yours again. I hope you find a way of keeping her again or finding another. Cats who don't mind getting soggy are truly angels in disguise.

Mary Sat, Apr 2nd 2016 @ 8:50pm

Debs. So true. That's it. Just - so true. Thanks.

Debs Sat, Apr 2nd 2016 @ 9:40pm

Thanks Mary, always so lovely to see you in here ;-) xx

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