I want to leave therapy knowing that I have done the work. I want to leave having covered all the bases, spanning right back to my early childhood. I want to leave therapy blossoming, knowing that I understand myself so much more. This notion of mine is probably the reason why I haven’t left therapy and why I am now approaching 5 years with my current analyst. Part of ourselves can trap us in this search for perfection and complete understanding. How can we possibly know ourselves fully when we are continually changing. We cannot ever know ourselves fully, and searching for some kind of ‘completion of oneself’ is a form of controlling behaviour, as part of us is not willing to accept that life is chaotic. The mystery of life is acceptable as far as the heart is concerned, but the head will always try and think it’s way around the bumps and curves, and for the mind this constant thinking exercise will be never ending. You can’t blame the thinking mind for doing what it does as that is it’s job. You could say that all that is real happens in the heart, and all that is not happens in the mind. However, the mind has to think sometimes so that we can complete certain daily tasks and our heart may need to stay out of the way, especially living in Western society. A harmonious balance between both worlds feels correct.
My thinking and philosophical mind has certainly expanded and deepened over the last 5 years, and in my therapists words he has said; “You are an extremely creative thinker”. I left that particular session (thinking once again), that if I am a creative thinker, I must spend much of my time thinking and not feeling, which is what I tend to do. Thinking is very protective. Thinking can shroud our emotions and feelings like a non-porous membrane. An obvious example of this constant thinking is when we think of a person in our lives who is dear to us. We can all be guilty of attempting to work this person out by thinking about the thousands of possibilities they may be thinking or feeling. What is more important is how that person makes us feel. Once again the mind is trying to control things, it even attempts to control another’s thinking and feeling.
The reason I entered therapy in the first place is that I was lost. A part of me had overshadowed another part and I was out of balance, lop-sided and anxious. At that point in my life I needed some help and support and our therapeutic journey began. However, by staying with a therapist, teacher or master for a long while, on some level we are enabling the kind of self talk that got us into difficulties in the first place to continue. We are once again engaging in another pattern of reasoning and debate, focusing on our sad and bad issues. I am not saying that therapy is damaging or that it is not conducive for awareness and happiness. What I am saying is that too much of anything can be counter productive, and the difficult part of our therapeutic work is knowing when both the heart and mind need to move on and go it alone. Perhaps when we leave, that is where therapy really begins.
8 responses to “Thinking, Feeling and Therapy”
I think, therefore I am. It’s a conundrum. We don’t stop. We are what we are. But you are no longer lost, so it seems. Striking that balance between thought and feelings is always difficult. But you seem to have the equation right at this point. I suppose one is ready to leave the official therapeutic site when one has the confidence to apply what is learned. This doesn’t guarantee success at all times…but at least you have the gas to go down the road. Good luck, Wil!
Will, we share the “thinking” issue. I understand exactly what you are saying in terms of when to end therapy, when does a new pattern emerge that becomes yet another spinning of wheels. You are so right when it comes to balance. I am trying to come to grips with feeling as well and have begun to journal feeling responses or lack thereof as an attempt to break the log jam that tilts the psyche. I am looking forward to more from you, friend. 🙂
You are very brave and very wise, Will. I believe that all that you have experienced in therapy will stand you in good stead to walk the path of life in a healthy and happy way. Trust your instinct, your sixth sense … And remember you have great friends that you can talk to. I sometimes think that our westernized and specialized lifestyles has forced us to need therapy, where those needs used to be met in relationships in more balanced wholesome lifestyles. As I mentioned, my friend who studied psychology said to me when she was at the same crossroads as you, that she needed to stop therapy, because it was keeping her ill. You have a warm heart and a very creative and intelligent mind and the love of family and friends. You can do it! 🙂
I believe that therapy helps us to develop a direct line to what we are *feeling* .The thinking side of therapy can be achieved reasonably well with self help books and the like .. Incidentally if those books worked why do people have shelf loads?
The most important moments in my own therapy have been when my therapist has helped me “stay with* very confusing , difficult feelings .. When he didn’t collude with me Nd intellectualise .. When we both had the sense to get next to that troublesome feeling and find words for it .. (or painting or sculpt etc.)
Self knowledge without self awareness is nothing but self deception . In my view .
Lovely piece Will .. I love your questioning x
Another intriguing & thought-provoking piece, Will. So … is it time? x
I have been in therapy for 6 years, now a group therapy as well. It is time to leave the individual therapy behind and go forward with the knowledge that I can use my new information about myself to open the universe of my heart and soul. Now, if I can just tell my therapist this!
Kindest thanks to everyone for some lovely, inspiring and self revealing comments. I have always answered each and every reply here on my blog and I find myself, with this particular post, with nothing to say to all of you. I keep staring at your comments but I can’t seem to reply! Just Thank you!