When Is Therapy The Road For Transformation?

By Holli Kenley

When Is Therapy The Road For True Transformation?

Three Questions You May Be Asking Yourself and Three Answers To Guide Your Decision If Therapy Is Key For Your Empowerment!

Question: Why am I still stuck, stagnating, and unsettled?

When clients enter therapy, it is amazing how much reading or research some have already done in trying to relieve their discomfort. Many have worked their way through numerous books, blogs, articles, posts, and videos searching for significant change. Some resources have been informative and inspiring while others have been comforting. However, for many clients, as they consider reaching out for therapy, they are at the very least frustrated and most are in pain. They are asking themselves, “Why am I still stuck, stagnating, and unsettled?”

Answer:  Connecting with a trusted professional

Although it is a wonder that we have access to all kinds of self-help resources, there is nothing that takes the place of connecting with a trusted professional. It is within the therapeutic setting – between client and professional therapist – where a unique relationship is built on trust, acceptance, belonging, and unconditional positive regard. And, it is within the safety of the therapeutic relationship and within the shared space of comfort and mutual respect where clinicians apply methods, provide tools, and implement effective treatment strategies for change to take root.

Why You Get Results:

  • Resources stimulate change.
  • Relationships provide a path for connection, healing, and growth.
Question: Why am I still so easily hurt, triggered, or activated?

When clients enter therapy, it is incredibly encouraging to learn how many have kept gratitude journals and how they have adopted positive mindset exercises in their daily routines, rituals, and practices. Others have taken self-improvement classes, empowerment workshops, or participated in mindfulness groups. While many clients experience tremendous personal growth, others begin considering therapy when they find they are not able to mitigate uncomfortable feelings or manage painful emotions which seem to come out of nowhere. They are asking themselves, “Why am I still so easily hurt, triggered, or activated?”

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Answer: Connecting the dots

Once clients enter into a safe therapeutic relationship, most are incredibly relieved to learn that there are reasons why they are still so easily hurt, triggered, or activated. Although clients understand that they are responsible for their actions and behaviors towards others, in therapy they begin connecting the dots. With the professional guidance of a therapist, this means clients begin the process of identifying uncomfortable experiences from their past and of becoming aware of how they are being reactivated or trigged by present circumstances.

Why You Get Results:

  • Positive strategies are change agents.
  • Personal therapeutic relationships create a path for developing an awareness and understanding of past experiences and their present-day relevance.
therapy for transformation
Question: Why can’t I be like my friends? What am I doing wrong?

One of the most heartbreaking statements made by clients who enter therapy is the disclosure of comparison.  Although many have tried different programs or read numerous self-improvement narratives, many clients see their friends moving ahead with their lives, growing and advancing in their careers, and achieving their dreams and desires. For many individuals, they deeply desire change in their lives, but they feel more comfortable staying in their discomfort, dissatisfaction, or dis-ease. As they begin to consider therapy, many self-shame with questions such as, “Why can’t I be like my friends? What am I doing wrong?”

Answer:  Connecting to and exploring underlying traumatic events and their impact

After a safe therapeutic relationship has been established, it is important for clients to identify experiences from their past and to become aware of how they are being reactivated or trigged by present circumstances.  Moving into the next phase of healing calls for clients to be both vulnerable and courageous. The process of connecting to and exploring underlying traumatic events and their impact on clients is delicate and difficult work. It takes the caring, compassionate, and competent therapist to join with clients as they peel away the layers injury and unearth their painful pasts.

What works for some may not work for you, especially if it leaves you wondering:

  • “What is wrong with me?”
  • What may work for you instead is connecting with a seasoned therapist who will explore with you,
  • “What happened to me?”
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In every profession, there are qualified individuals who are remarkable. And, there are individuals who are not. When seeking a therapist, ask for a recommendation from someone you trust or someone who has had a good experience. Check out Psychology Today, which has a directory of therapists in twenty countries. Or, perhaps there are local professional directories in your state, province, or city.  Most importantly, if you do not connect with a therapist, keep trying until you find someone who feels like a good fit for you.  Someone who is safe and trusting. Someone who will work hard for you and with you.

If you are searching to learn more about trauma, its impact on your life, and to receive comfort in messages of shared suffering, you are encouraged to view the following:

The Me You Can’t See

The Wisdom of Trauma

Publisher’s Note: Holli Kenley is an American Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and the author of “ Daughters Betrayed By Their Mothers: Moving from Brokenness to Wholeness” and “Power Down & Parent Up!: Cyber Bullying, Screen Dependence & Raising Tech-Healthy Children