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Therapy for wellness

I’ve been thinking a lot about what therapy is and what therapy isn’t.


I get people coming to me when they’re on their knees and they’ve not got much left, I guess there is this unspoken assumption that we come to therapy when we are broken when there is nowhere else for us to go. When we really are at the end of what we can cope with and everything is a bit bleak. It’s not like that in the States or some other countries where therapy is seen more as a way to maintain wellness.


I think when we talk about mental health, we implicitly think we’re discussing mental ill health, but actually maintaining emotional wellness is very much the same as maintaining physical fitness. You might go to a doctor or a physiotherapist when you’ve got a specific injury or illness, but every day we know we are responsible for our lifestyle choices, what we eat, how we exercise how we sleep, and that this is how we take care of ourselves. I think sometimes therapy might do well to be viewed through this same lens. We do not need to be broken to be in therapy. We can go to a therapist for maintenance, to check in with ourselves to make sure that we’re on the right track and we are heading in the right direction. Therapy can, and maybe should, be part of our overall lifestyle choices, an opportunity to get another pair of eyes and ears into our world.


It is worth being aware that any therapist isn’t a magician. They are not there to magically fix or take away pain and difficulty. They cannot, and should not, erase the lines or remove the hurts, it is not possible. If something is broken it will always have been broken, that is part of a story which belongs to you. If I smashed a glass now, no matter how much I may want it to go back to its original ‘unsmashed’ state that simply isn’t realistic.


Therapy is really about assessing where we are at, looking at the realities of the situation and choosing what we do with that information. Moving forward it’s about taking control and owning the power we get from the truth. It’s about making choices even when those choices are about situations, events and realities we have not necessarily invited into our world.


I wonder then if maybe therapy for wellness rather than therapy for broken might be a march worth starting.


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