How staying in therapy beyond the initial crisis might have even greater payoffs

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“Everything is great and THAT is why I am here!” Said nobody ever when they walked through my office door. Nor do they claim, “I want to learn more about myself and continue on this path!!”

Typically, crisis is what brings us to therapy when we can no longer continue with our own status quo.

Usually, you can recognize a symptom. Maybe it is anxiety and we are having difficulty breathing. Perhaps a panic attack resulted in a hospital visit and then no medical reason is determined. These people often find themselves on my couch.

Sometimes, it is sleepless nights, difficulty eating or concentrating. These are also ways your body might be telling you there is a crisis and you better listen.

These situations may bring us to a therapist’s couch for crisis control. To get through the crisis we must reduce anxiety or the depression, we work to resolve the loss or understand and process trauma. Then, we have a choice: to leave or keep working.

I get that some people may disagree (especially insurance companies). But when we stop working on ourselves, we stop growing, and when we stop growing, we stop living.

In my experience, the best therapy, the most productive therapy, happens just beyond the crisis when you can reflect on what brought you there in the first place. What warning signs did you miss that could have prevented you from a hospital visit, from drinking more than you should, from not being able to get out of bed in the morning?

Could you have asked for help before the crisis? SURE.

Does it have to get to that point before you ask for help?

The answer to that is a resounding: NO.

If we can tune in and listen to ourselves (meditation is a great way to do this), if even for a moment, we can hear when our life is no longer within our control.

So what is the benefit of talking things out?

While this is not a quick fix, the power of healing happens through being seen, heard, understood. Then you can be challenged to move out of your “stuckness” to a place where life feels like it is back on track and headed in the right direction.

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Also published on Medium.

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