Last year I decided that I wanted to become a therapist and so I started a course with the aim to qualify and have a career change. I was looking forward to studying and essay writing once again but, little did I know that this decision would drastically change my life, the way I see myself in the world and that I would in no way end up becoming a therapist.
Before I started the course, I read lots of articles that warned me that Psychotherapy training was a huge emotional investment, one that might change your life and affect your existing relationships. I remember thinking… not me, I already know myself so well, I’m just doing this for a career change. What I didn’t realize was how little I really knew myself, how out of touch I was with my emotions, and how numb I had become to the world around me.
A requirement of my course was that each student had to be in their own personal therapy. I cannot stress enough how little I thought I needed this – I did it purely because I had to. Those first few sessions were extremely challenging. I remember feeling attacked and judged. I later came to realize that this was purely a projection, a feeling that came from past experience and not one necessarily based in reality. In one of those first sessions, I asked “what is the ultimate aim of therapy?” My therapist replied something along the lines of “therapy allows us to understand ourselves, our patterns and our behavior in a way that might facilitate change and growth.” My answer? “But I don’t want to change”.
Fast forward one year and I can honestly say my life is completely different. Therapy might seem like a last resort for people who are struggling with their mental health, but I see it as an incredible journey of personal development. If finances allow, it’s something I think everyone should try. How can getting to know yourself, your emotions, and the reason behind your behaviors be anything but a wonderful thing? I was scared of change, and it hasn’t always been easy, in fact sometimes it’s been really difficult, but I am so grateful that I made it happen.
Therapy is not a magic cure, it will not mean that life is easy and that you’re instantly happier. What it meant for me was knowing myself, accepting that I have flaws, accepting that life can be difficult, being more comfortable with that and welcoming the emotion. Because sadness and anger are painful, but feeling them means that you’re alive.
My friends say that I’m different… I feel different. But it is more that my outlook on life is different, and my understanding of myself is clearer. With this comes a certain feeling of contentment that was not there before. Life is beautiful and it is also painful, therapy helped me to accept it in its entirety.
“It is only because of problems that we grow mentally and spiritually. It is through the pain of confronting and resolving problems that we learn.”
Scott Peck, The Road Less Travelled
Featured Image by Ben White on Unsplash.