The Therapist Guide
When I think about the journey of therapy, I visualize the journey of Dante through the 3 epic poems of Il Inferno, Il Purgatorio, e Il Paraiso. In order for Dante to experience the fullness of paradise, he experiences the horrors of the rings of hell. He delves deep into the pits of despair. He progresses into the cleansing purgatory which is hard and difficult, but he finally arrives in paradise where he can experience the fullness of its beauty. This is therapy. That is the journey that therapists take each client on.
Therapists: Modern Day Guides
The depths of hell seem neverending. We are scared that we may spiral out of control and end up with our eyes gauged out. That fear keeps us from healing, and often keeps us even further from the therapy room. BUT, what if I told you that therapy is the exact place you need to be. Just like Dante was guided by Virgil- everyone needs a guide to take them into the depths of their personal hells. That is exactly what therapists do. It is our “sweet spot”.
Surprisingly, our work is barely beginning when we are in the metaphorical depths of hell. After you have experienced the depths of your darkness, we guide you to the healing experience of purgatory. It is in this middle phase of therapy that we begin to systematically transform your life.
Finally, after being guided by the therapist from the depths of hell, through the cleansing middle therapy resembling purgatory, you arrive in paradise. The fullness more completely felt.
The Fear of Therapy
Let’s talk more about the fear that you might feel around making the initial call to enter in therapy. Let’s be honest- calling a stranger on the phone to tell them your darkest secrets, to say you need to talk, saying you need “help” is hard. It’s hard due to a lot of reasons- stigma, society, personal beliefs, and the honest truth that therapy is hard. It may be the hardest thing you do in your entire life.
Most of the time it’s hard because you know what you are going to have to face in therapy. You know that your expert therapist guide has been there. You fear them knowing how to take you into the depths, but maybe there is even more concern that this expert therapist won’t know how to get you out of your 7th ring of hell. What happens if they don’t know how to fix it? They can’t guide you out?
That is part of the beauty of therapy. The truth is that you actually know exactly how to get out of your worst ring of hell. You just need someone there with you to reassure you, and to help you use the way out. A guide to point you to the next stepping stone.
The Therapist: A Trusted Guide
When you are entering into this new relationship, the most important aspect is trust. Do you like the therapist? An honest question, but often not one that is asked enough. It is 100% ok to say, “You know what, I don’t think this is right for me”. After all- you have to trust the person who is taking you into your darkness. You have to know they get it, that they know the way around the booby traps, and that they aren’t going to leave you in the midst of hell. You have to trust that they’ve been there and know the way out.
Building Trust with the Therapist Guide
Trust is often not established quickly especially when you have a history of trauma. It can be very hard to trust someone. You may feel like they make a mistake or an error- and quickly interpret their error as being inept, abandoning you on the journey, or just not caring. Being able to process these missteps is an integral part of healing. Telling your therapist about how you feel, and how something they said made you feel can be overwhelming- but some of the most transformative work.
Working through an error with a therapist gives the relationship new depths. It builds trust. It builds an environment where you can share more shame, more guilt, and more details of your experiences. When both the guide and the client can lay themselves bare in their humanity- the transformations that occur are limitless.
Beginning Therapy with Your Therapist
If you are looking for a therapist in California, we can work with you via online therapy. Visit us at www.paxtherapy.com/online-therapy-california If you are in the Whittier area, you can book a consult with us at www.paxtherapy.com for our location at 13006 Philadelphia St., Suite 210, Whittier, CA 90601