Therapy's a funny word. I noticed when I wrote the first part of this 'series' (I say series in the loosest sense of the word given its taken me a month to write part two!) there were some comments from Moodscopers saying they weren't comfortable about sitting in a room and talking to a stranger. I wasn't sure I was at first; I thought having therapy meant I was a failure, a broken human. I thought my therapist was going to 'fix' me and after a few sessions I would rise like some kind of born-again being.
But that hasn't happened.
Instead what's come about during the past year of talking to an insightful, compassionate woman every week is that I've slowly taken apart a mismatching jigsaw and put the pieces back where they make more sense. Ditching some that didn't fit, cutting the bumpy bits off others and finding a few that were ok after all, I just needed to look at them with different eyes.
The word therapy comes from the Greek therapia which literally means healing. When I found that out it made me think differently about my own therapy. I realised the view of two people sitting in a room, one spilling their heart out whilst the other nods sympathetically, is outdated. In fact therapy, or healing, can be about talking, or it can be about anything else that brings relief: massage, walking, music, art, friendship, yoga, sport, love, sex, food, sleep, dancing, driving, volunteering... the list is endless.
My own healing process has been a meandering wander taking in lots of the above tools. I couldn't have come this far without the self-discovery of psychotherapy, and neither could I without having spent time listening to music, being loved by my son, climbing mountains and looking at the endless sky, or losing myself in a weekend of life drawing in the Welsh hills. Sometimes I didn't even know something was going to be 'therapy' until I'd done it and thought 'hmmm, that felt nice'.
The Buddhists talk about two strands on the path to enlightenment: wisdom and compassion. Maybe these strands are also the routes to mental wellbeing? The wisdom that comes from self-discovery, magically woven with tender self-care? Maybe therapy is as unique as we are? And maybe its time to write our own prescriptions.
With healing love,