One of the great benefits of being a therapist is that I am allowed to witness the power of transformation. People’s lives can and do change and I have the privilege of taking part in that transformation. Counseling is often the venue of last help. Most of us try everything we can to fix things on our own; talking with friends, reading self help books, or just trying harder. It is typically not an easy option to talk to a stranger about our problems. It is counter intuitive to think that a person that knows the least about you has the greatest opportunity to provide help. It just doesn’t make sense that a perfect stranger can help you figure out or transform your life.
Some of that has to do with the nature of the counseling relationship. There typically is not a lot of time wasted on small talk. When someone comes into counseling it is because life has become difficult and painful enough to ask for help. You are ready to listen because you know that what you are doing is not working (If only my teenage children had such an attitude!).
This attitude of being ready for help is akin to a woman about to give birth to her baby. All modesty and pretense goes right out the window. There is a baby about to be born and it doesn’t matter who is there and who sees what. If you have ever witnessed a birth you know what I mean. You are participating in something special, even sacred, and everything is focused on helping that new life enter the world.
Effective therapy is something like the birth experience. There is the potential for a different life, a new life and every effort is about helping bring that life forth. Whether it is a new marital relationship, or overcoming traumatic experiences like child abuse, or learning how to live a less anxious life, we all have the potential for new life in us. We are creatures who are in the process of becoming and there is something sacred, spiritual and mysterious in this process. As a counselor I participate in this first hand and the power of seeing lives transform is a blessing beyond words.