The following content contains insights from a practicing therapist. The aim is to expand our view about therapy and talk about shadow work.)
There is something that a lot of us miss out on when we start working on ourselves. I learned about this during my therapy, and I see it happening a lot of times in my sessions with my clients as well.
These are my two cents about the process of therapy:
There are different ways in which therapy works. The therapist has a unique style they work with. And you two decide on a theme or goal and work on it. In a nutshell, it is tailor-made for each individual.
Beginning therapy is one difficult move. If you began or have been in one for a while, pat yourselves on your back! Kudos to you to put yourself first and are making efforts to take care of yourselves, one day at a time.
Nonetheless, there is something that happens in the background of all this that is very general to us all. What happens once you start therapy?
There is a very typical stereotype that therapy will solve your life problems or it will make your life easier. To an extent it is true, as it is a safe space where you are allowed to be yourself and understand yourself better, see things in a different light and grow. With this idea, unfortunately, a lot of us forget that it is not just therapy that will make the change, but ourselves.
Many times, we are reminded that we have to work on things by ourselves, we choose to only give ourselves that one hour during the week and then hold back until the next session. It's not to bash anyone, but the inherent idea that only during therapy will you work on your thoughts slows down the process for you and your therapist.
A therapist's job is to hold a mirror to you and, show you the objective reflection, keeping in mind that you are your individual self. The solutions are something that has to be worked on by the individual. We forget that we have to show up every day for ourselves first. With all the behind the scenes work that we put in for ourselves, we can realize the benefits one attains from being in therapy. It takes time. You will identify your patterns during the day, learn to work on them on your own. Therapy in itself will only offer you clarity. What you choose to do with that clarity is up to you. This is shadow work!
Yes, taking that first step of seeking out a professional and talking to someone does set into motion your journey to self-betterment. But, for how long are you going to have a momentum of the first step and wait for things to get better? It's good to start, it's good to be aware, and have your own pace, but, being stuck in the first step won't really move you to your goal unless you are putting in the efforts beyond therapy for yourself. We are here to remind you that you are already moving in the right direction, all you need to do is to identify how much you've accomplished and how much further you have to go!
- Thoughts from a therapist's room.