As a client and I were recently working on wrapping up her course of therapy she mentioned the well known words of Nanny McPhee about her time in therapy. “When you need me but do not want me, then I must stay. When you want me, but no longer need me, then I have to go.” As her therapist sitting on the chair across from the couch, the words were very touching and very true. These words have stuck with me. Leaving me with a sense of pride that I was able to be the one to hold space for her, while she did the work she was so resistant and fearful of.
Allowing her time and space to move to a place where she no longer needed me.
Many clients, but the sake of this post I want to refer to clients as people because honestly, clients are MORE people than clients. Many people find picking up the phone to call to make an appointment with a therapist scary….terrifying even. To call and ask for help from a total stranger at a very difficult time is HARD. Then to have to drive to a strange new office, stare at that door that you must now walk through to get the help you asked for. HARDER. Behind that door is help, but that door represents the barriers, excuses, and fears that have kept you from calling for help for a long time. Too long. Then you open the door and walk though. HARDEST. You are about to meet a stranger to talk about the things you have not wanted to feel, think about, let alone talk about for a LONG time. Too long.
I am that stranger. Your Therapist. I will be your guide, your facilitator, and your teacher. I will hold space for you to do the work that needs done.
People come to therapy often when their mother or their closest friend’s word of advice and telling them what to do is just not doing it anymore. Truth is, if we all just did what our mothers told us to do we would not need a therapist. Right? WRONG.
People come to therapy when they feel like all they have already tried is not working. They have read the self-help book, talked to their pastor, googled it, tried to just think more positively, and told themselves they were not going to let IT bother them anymore.
People come to therapy when the numbing is not working anymore. When the shame is too much. When the internal pain in now physical. When there is no getting out of their own way.
As I tell every client a few minutes into our first meeting “I am not here to tell you what you need to do and how to do it. I am her to guide you through your process of making change.” Again, if you wanted someone to tell you what to do you would call your mom, your bestie or ask Siri.
I am here to hold space for you to get into IT and sift.
I believe we all have the answers inside ourselves. To find these answers we must sift through our mess, listen to ourselves, and tap into our true feelings. Only then do we know. But first we must be willing and brave enough to get into IT. I often refer to this as getting into the fire.
Many don’t believe they know this is fear blocking the road. Fear is built of lies, lies we tell ourselves from old stories we have concocted to cope with what is before us. These stories, they are often shity faulty stories until we dig into them and shift through them.
I find the space I hold for people to sift through their mess the gift I have the privilege of giving them. I am the one who sits in the silence. I am the one who listens. I am the one that hears the truth come out.
Holding space is heavy, quiet, calm, and powerful.
To be honest I know there are people who don’t want to be on the couch, yet they come sit on the couch at their scheduled time every week. They sometimes walk in the door grumpy because they know their work on the couch is uncomfortable and at times terrifying. They walk in the door wanting to talk about the weather and the annoying thing their coworker does until the last 10 minutes of session when they stick their toe in the fire for a few minutes knowing their time is up at 10 till. Remember what Nanny McPhee said, “When you need me but do not want me, then I must stay.” This is okay. This is what they can tolerate, and I am here holding space, being with, pushing gently, asking, listening, hearing, until they are ready.
To be heard is often all we need. For someone to speak their truth, their pains, their story, and to be heard is healing. To hear someone say “I just let it roll off my back” or “I know I just need to get over it” makes my skin crawl. I give you permission to NOT let it just roll of your back. I give you permission to NOT just get over it. Grab it, feel it, twist it, mold it, rewrite it, speak your truth, give it back. Do NOT own what is not yours.
I write this to say thank you for allowing me to hold space for you. Thank you for being brave. Thank you for your vulnerability and your strength. Thank you for embracing the mess that you are. Thank you for rewriting your story. Thank you for finding your needs. Thank you for searching for what you want. “When you want me, but no longer need me, then I have to go.” Nanny McPhee