Stopping The Things That Stop You: Bringing Therapy To Life
Graffiti’s an inspiring thing sometimes.
This bit, “share the wealth!” sprayed across a back alley, no doubt refers to financial wealth. But you also have an internal wealth of things – like emotions, ideas, experiences, creativity, insights, wisdoms, and a self – to share.
But do you share them?
Or does it feel ‘easier’ or ‘safer’ to hold back sometimes?
Maybe perfectionism gets in the way, insisting that whatever you share of yourself always has to be an immaculate, shining thing before it’s let out. Maybe you worry what others might think (or judge). Maybe some kind of inner critic denies that you have anything of value to offer the world. Maybe it feels like the role society would have you play won’t easily allow it. Or maybe holding back has just become your habitual, default position in some ways.
But what does it mean to withhold the self in this way?
(To withhold the wealth?)
For perhaps there’s stuff that only you, or especially you, can offer in a given moment. That your intricate constellations of life and loss and love trace particular patterns that add to the collective richness of this whole place. That you – and whatever you have to throw into the ring – matter. Just as you are.
Group therapy is a great way of reflecting this. It’s amazing how often one person’s thoughts or experiences or emotions mysteriously unlock another’s problem. How each person, just by bringing who they are right now to the equation (and letting that particular cat out of the bag for a moment) enriches everybody’s experience. How each individual contributes to the flow and impacts the whole.
So what stops you from ‘sharing the wealth’ around?
What gets in the way of it?
In the way of sharing it with others, and perhaps even with yourself?
For identifying those obstacles can be important. In fact, one of the world’s renowned therapists, Irvin D. Yalom, writes that therapy itself is often about exactly that; finding the obstacles.
“I did not have to inspirit the patient with the desire to grow, with curiosity, will, zest for life, caring, loyalty, or any of the myriad characteristics that make us fully human.
No, what I had to do was to identify and remove obstacles. The rest would follow automatically, fuelled by the self-actualizing forces within…”
So how would it be to transfer some of this stuff across into your own life? To invite this kind of therapy in? To consider the size and shape of the obstacles that stop you sharing yourself (and your wealth) with the world? And thereby maybe learning how to start removing them?
Releasing your own self-actualising forces.
And letting whatever’s already in there just unfurl…
Photo: Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar
Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar (Grad Dip Counselling & Psychotherapy) is a writer, blogger and Sydney psychotherapist in private practice at One Life Counselling & Psychotherapy. Gabrielle also co-facilitates telephone support groups for people who are living with cancer, for their carers, and for people who have been bereaved through a cancer experience. She is the editor of a journal on counselling and psychotherapy and she provides regular therapeutic updates on facebook and Twitter @OneLifeTherapy.
Gawne-Kelnar, G. (2011). Stopping The Things That Stop You: Bringing Therapy To Life. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 18, 2015, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/therapist-within/2011/01/stopping-the-things-that-stop-you-bringing-therapy-to-life/