When you decide to engage in long-term therapy with a good therapist, you are entering into an ongoing dialogue which has as its focus in the internal workings of your mind. It is a route toward increased intimacy with yourself. It is often emotional or psychological pain that drives us to this project, but once there, we begin to learn the wonder of the complexity of our own minds. There is more to us than we think!
So first, we create a relationship with a therapist who is patient, kind, and thoughtful. We have to have that chemistry that we have with people we want to be friends with. In other words, we don’t feel alienated from that therapist. We begin to feel safer. More complicated feelings, thoughts, and ideals begin to surface. The relationship becomes calmer, even mundane at times.
We have a fear. Perhaps subtle. That what we will find inside of ourselves will be messy, broken, or destructive. We get to the threshold of deeper connection with ourselves and we hesitate. Do we want to know about our own inner pain? What if we hate ourselves as people, or worse, what if we have mean and hurtful motives? The relationship with a stable accepting person creates a psychological space in which we can discover our true selves–if we have the courage to do that.
We will encounter parts of ourselves that we wish were better. We will find that we are not as perfect or as good as we wish we were. Somehow we come through that disappointment in ourselves and find that we are part of a larger reality. We can come to appreciate ourselves as we are, integrating those different parts into a whole person. And by extension, we can appreciate and accept other people wth their anxieties and their imperfections. We get to a place of no longer feeling bad. No longer feeling disappointed. We begin to see the complex miracle of ourselves as whole persons.