When Therapy Works

Matisse cut outMany people wonder whether therapy actually works. It is usually difficult to define what happens in therapy, even though both client and therapist know that it is something good. Sometimes, it appears that therapy isn’t doing anything at all, especially when the client has specific goals that are not being met. Most times, the process of growth takes longer than people hope. But then, every once in a while, often after a long time lost in confusion and frustration, the results become clear and wonderful. As one of my clients was coming to the end of a course of treatment, I asked her what she had accomplished in therapy. Here is what she said. It is one of the best descriptions that I’ve heard of what can happen when therapy works.

I’ve come to terms with my childhood. I’ve learned to understand my mother in a different way. I know she did what she did because of her own limitations. I realized that the words of hatred I heard as a child were her insecurity and hatred and not mine. I am not completely there yet, but I am trying to forgive her.

I’ve grown up a lot. I’ve become more confident. Where before I didn’t believe that I had anything worth saying, and that no one would listen to me, now I share my point of view. Now, I can’t be shut up!

I’ve learned to see my husband in a different way – to appreciate him as a good man. He loves me and works so hard on himself and on opening his heart to me. I respect that a great deal.

As difficult as it is to go through life with someone sometimes, I now know it’s so much better to go through life with someone than to be alone.

I’ve reconnected with my passion for art. This was like rekindling a friendship I had misplaced long ago.

I’ve learned to be honest and confront difficult things. Now I know that facing stuff is easier than avoiding them.

I didn’t give up. I completed something that was important to me, even though it was difficult and took time – healing myself.

I now know that regardless of what anyone says, I am lovable, I’m worth something, and I’m wanted. Strangely, it has been by facing my mistakes, problems, and flaws that I have learned to love myself.




One comment

  1. Absolutely beautiful – it is so powerful when, as therapists, we can witness and honour the incredible changes and transformations our clients can experience during the course of counselling and in their work with us. There is always something to learn from them and their changes help us change and grow as well! Thanks for sharing this.