Sometimes clients ask about how they will know if the process of therapy is working. Such a good question. How do we know if the time we spend, week after week and month after month is helping? I often talk about therapy as it relates to nature. Particularly gardening, plants, and flowers. The first step, asking for support, is like buying the seeds or the sapling that you want to plant. Finding the right soil is a bit like finding the right counsellor or therapist. And then, the digging begins. Sometimes it’s just brushing away topsoil and other times, when we hit a layer of rock or very solid earth, it requires different tools, patience and more of a chipping away. We can think about therapy in the same terms.
Coming and seeing someone to talk about what is disturbing you can feel overwhelming especially if you have never experienced it before. Therapy is not like speaking with a friend or a family member. It’s about having someone’s undivided attention and reflective listening. The experience of being completely heard and seen is often new for many people, particularly if parts of you were not fully acknowledged when you were young. This is the part of the process that is like planting the seeds. The ongoing sessions and your work outside of the room is the sun and the rain nurturing the seeds under the ground.
And then, when you are ready, there comes a moment when you have a realisation or make a connection which is new. It feels expansive and deep and helps you understand parts of yourself in a way that you hadn’t considered before. For me, this is the beginning of the growth phase which leads to a kind of blooming inside of us. Like a flower, barely perceptible but day by day opening more and more.
At this time of the year and all through the year, I see clients bloom as they show up and place their willingness and openness to the process of self-discovery and change. Nature leads the way in springtime and shows us how no matter how deep or dark the winter may have been, the light will always shine again and support us in our personal quest for growth.