in therapy

by Laurie Simmons for the NY Times

It’s only been about six months since I first started seeing Dr. L, but I feel like she’s the first therapist I feel I can open up and really say what I’m thinking. But where is this all going, I ask myself as I walk to my car after a session. Her hugs at the end of each session are so comforting, but am I paying $100+ to get a comfy hug? Therapy, while it leads to closures to various issues, seems to open up new questions, not only about the process, but also about yourself.Dr. L tells me I’ve grown and changed, but how have I changed? How have I grown? Can those changes be seen by anyone besides a mental health professional? I am a student of qualitative measures, but why is it that I need some tangible, quantitative data, in order for me to be satisfied with the progress?

As I was pondering about therapy and its implications, I came across a NYTimes magazine article by Daphne Merkin titled “My Life in Therapy.”It’s an interesting read. She talks about her years of therapy. The pics posted above and below accompanied the article. They do depict that strange sense of intimidation that I feel regardless of how comfortable I feel I’m becoming in that room.

My appointment is coming up this Friday, and I’ve begun to wonder what I should talk about in my upcoming session. I know that it’s probably better to be more spontaneous with the topics that come up, but I can’t help but mull over a list of possible events in my life that could be analyzed. To the inexperienced eye, therapy just looks like you chat for an hour, but in reality, it really is work. But right now, I’m not quite sure I can put in words just what ‘work’ I’ve accomplished in the time I’ve been in therapy. Is it enough to be able to say that I’ve been doing okay, or should I be seeking for more than that? I think I’m going to address this issue at another time (I really, really need to be working something else and not on this journal….).

2 Comments to “in therapy”

  1. Ran across this T.S. Eliot quote just this morning after reading your post and had to share it. It seemed so fitting…

    “We shall not cease from exploration
    And the end of all our exploring
    Will be to arrive where we started
    And know the place for the first time”

    I don’t know. It just hit me as a funny/meaningful coincidence running across these lines this morning. Therapy has felt sometimes like I’m desperately trying to arrive someplace new, to escape where I’ve been, but… maybe it’s all in seeing “the place for the first time”…. I’ve found it hard work myself. But amazing too, those moments when I’ve seen something I’ve been stuck in my whole life for the “first time.”

    Best to you. And love your blog.
    jnc

  2. jnc, thank you so much for telling me about this quote. That’s such a thought-provoking, well-put quote that I wrote it down in my planner so I can look at it and think about it some more.

    i can’t say that people who’ve never been in therapy can’t explore to different places, but through therapy, that process of exploration is always active. It’s truly an experience to get to see something for the ‘first time’

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