What is Counseling?

Way back when I was a baby therapist, I knew some things about the world. Not as much as I knew when I was 15, mind you, but some stuff. Those of you with teenagers can take a moment and laugh at that–I’ll wait here.

Ready? Ok, then.

Anyway, I started working with clients at the ripe old age of 23. No offense to the most worldly and wise of the 23-year-old therapists out there, but I can’t believe those first clients took a gander at me and did anything but hot foot it back out the door. Back then, I looked young for my age, and my graduate school professors not-so-subtly suggested that I might want to purchase a pair of glasses and wear my hair up in order to not appear…well, like a high schooler who was working on some sort of senior project. I am eternally grateful to those first brave souls who allowed me to join in their worlds and share their stories. I think back often on the things those clients taught me about being a person and about being a therapist.

Now that I have been sitting in my therapist’s chair for more than a decade, I wonder if I know more stuff now than I did then. I have certainly been witness to many more tragedies and joys, and partner in reauthoring hundreds of stories that had gotten too old and small for their owners. But still, what is this thing we call therapy?

1) A unique partnership: At the start of my work with a new client, I imagine the two of us standing at a dock. We figure out how to support one another so that we can both get in the boat, taking turns steadying it and making sure that it’s pointing in the right direction. Then, we sail off towards wherever this person has stated he or she would like to go. I might have a role in helping that person figure out how to hoist the sail or steer the vessel, but the map is always within him or her.

2) An Ongoing Conversation: Therapy is an ongoing conversation with me, sure. But, mostly, it is an ongoing conversation with yourself. I will ask you to identify points in the past that have influenced your current position, and I will ask you how you will know the current situation is improving. Through homework assignments that bridge the gap between the dialogical work we do in session and the interior work you do outside of our meetings, you can keep that conversation firing.

3) Fun: I’m not kidding. I know that nobody ever comes to see me because they’re too happy. I get that, I do. But, I think there is something intellectually and spiritually tasty about getting to know yourself in the company of someone who is interested in you taking that journey. Therapy isn’t just for depression and anxiety, though it is helpful for those things. It is also a place to nurture who you want to be–to get coaching on those topics, and to savor that accomplishment.

What does psychotherapy mean to you? I would love to know how it looks from the other side of the chair.

Your Partner in Healing,

Dr. Holly

Are you looking for individual, couples or group therapy in the Raleigh? Call me today to schedule a FREE 30-minute consultation to see how counseling can help you. Please contact me at (919) 714-7455 or email me at holly@lotustherapycenter.com. Visit me on the web at www.lotustherapycenter.com.