Although people enter therapy for many reasons, I know that no one comes through my door without experiencing some form of suffering. The task we undertake together is to discover the nature and origins of that suffering. Clarifying and exploring the difficulties we face reveals what changes we need to make in our lives—for our own sake and for that of the people who matter to us.
It takes courage for us to recognize that our lives are out of balance. Often we first realize this—or take it seriously—because we experience symptoms of one kind or another: physical illness, emotional distress, or blocks in our creativity, work or relationships. Since powerful and complicated feelings and reactions may arise in the process of therapy, the relationship between the two people involved has to provide a sense of trust that allows for such experiences. The usefulness of psychotherapy depends as much on the nature of this relationship as it does on the training and theoretical approach of the therapist.
For these reasons, I find that developing an adequate sense of trust is a fundamental aspect of any therapy, whether we are talking about it directly or not. Navigating even the practical details gives us opportunities to identify and build the kind of security that is necessary to discover and explore what we need on deeper levels. When this sense of trust is present, it makes room for curiosity about experimenting with new possibilities, an attitude that is central to psychological change.
Because no two people are the same, what each person needs to discover in therapy is different, and the nature of the process is particular to each situation. How much development or healing occurs depends on the honesty, creativity and perseverance of the therapist and the client. When both people bring these qualities to the process of therapy, both the demands and the rewards can be great.