Therapy is about more than just listening

Therapy is about more than just listening

“I would love to have somebody to listen to me” or “ I think I could do what you do and listen to people all day.”

These two phrases are the ones that most therapists hear most often when they tell people what they do. The belief that your therapist, or that the process of counselling and therapy just involves you talking and the professional opposite you just listens are at best missing the point of what therapy is and at worst deterring people seeking help.

At the heart of the process is the relationship between you and your therapist. This relationship is like no other. Through working with your therapist or counsellor you begin to trust them with your deepest, most intimate thoughts, feelings and experiences. Experienced therapists and counsellors take what you say, accept and value you, think, process, reflect, interpret, empathise and are able then to work with you on what they have understood about you.

A good therapist is someone who is able to provide you with a metaphorical mirror. A mirror that you are able to look into and see yourself as you have never seen yourself. Then you can begin to make changes, live a fuller more fulfilling life.

We often walk through life the same way we drive, with blind spots. Blind spots, those areas of our psyche that mean that despite seeing the hole in front of us we still fall into it time and time again. The blind spot that results in feeling dissatisfied, knowing that there must be more to life than this. The blind spot that means we don’t know how to release the full potential of who we are.

Blind spots, or the parts of our psyche that are unknown to us can also result us being in unsuitable or abusive relationships, having unhealthy relationships with drugs, alcohol or food or repeating the same mistakes in various forms.

At this time of New Year, be aware that we all have blind spots, areas of ourselves that are unseen by us. A good driving instructor will point out where your blind spots are and encourage you to find a way of seeing as much as you can. A good therapist will also illuminate where you blind spots may be and together you can discover a new more productive way of seeing. This does not happen by just being listened to.