inside the {4 walls} of therapy

Although my therapy room is a lot warmer and inviting than this photo – this photo represents how empty and alone the process was when I started 5 years ago today, and how vulnerable it was to take those steps towards healing.

I have been in therapy and with my therapist Andy now for 5 years. I showed up 5 years ago in complete fear, and had so many walls up, that my therapist couldn’t even seen me, but I know he could hear me.

I remember showing up and sitting in the leather chair closest to the door in case I needed to run. I remember crossing my legs, and sitting up straight and tall while staring straight at this painting of these 4 headed men who stared right back at me.

My therapist sat in his chair to the right. He was tall and looked smart. He held a clipboard with a pen, taking down small notes as I sat there with my legs shaking and aching from trying to keep them crossed without moving.

When I walked into the room, I knew my life would change, because I wanted it to.

I wanted to heal from the depths of what was deep inside, but I was scared and didn’t know how to do that. I think I was scared to hear what was going on inside, because the pain was so deep that even I wasn’t sure fully what was inside. I was too numb to even know how I felt deep inside the pain that resided for over 30+ years.

Weeks went by, months went by, years went by and I kept showing up. I kept plugging away at the fear of going deep within to find the true me who was inside.

Each time I showed up, another brick of the wall was taken out. It got to the point that finally my therapist could see me a little from the small holes in the wall of the bricks we took out. I also could see him clearer as well; a more safer view, not a view that was covered by fear.

As time went by, more and more pieces of the wall came out, and I was starting to see HIM and THE ROOM more in focus. The room wasn’t as scary; the walls were warmer and not cold. Andy was looking safer to me; someone I could hand over more of my past to with a little more trust.

Time went by and I moved from the black leather chair to the couch, and sat along side my therapist; where we now sit 5 years later.

I got a different view of the room, while I took more and more bricks out each day of my healing. I started to see and feel more trust all around me, and the room that I showed up in 4 days a week was starting to fill up with my story and my truth.

Pieces of the room served as focal points in my healing. I could trust that when I looked at the window, there would be 5 circles on the right part of the curtain, and 5 on the left. I counted them each time I went there to make sure they were still there.

The clock that ticks no longer made a sound; but serves as a time frame for me. I can see the clock clearly now and I know where my time is; instead of being in the dark not knowing when it was going to end.

I would sometimes catch glimpses of my therapist watch on his wrist to see how much time I had left – but now the time is mine, not a time frame I feel I have to earn. Before I was anxious for the time to end – now I sometimes wish I had just a few more moments, because healing is now a beautiful thing.

Time went by and the room became more focused. I would sometimes scan the room when times were harder, trying to find my focal points to help me talk through the hard moments of my memories.

Today I sit aside of my therapist. I have trust; I have someone who knows my whole story. I have a room that holds all my pain and all my suffering. The room holds my truth, and all my fears – but the therapist who sat near me in that fear? He’s safe and he is now one of my favorite people.

5 years later and I have a wonderful relationship in therapy with who I can trust and who helps me guide the way to my path I walk towards me. I show up and the room is filled with me and her (the child that needed a voice), who told her story and is still working through her story today, through both hard and graceful.

I have changed so much in the 5 years that I have been in therapy. The walls that were so high before, are now low enough to step over – yet high enough to get back behind if things get hard; but never will the walls be high like they once were.

The black leather chair I sat in 5 years ago serves as a holder for my bag, or jacket when I come in; no longer the chair that holds me in fear, with one foot out the door.

I walk into the room and my therapist and I have this routine of me putting down my drink on the table, and him moving around me to get his cup of water, to then we meet together in a side hug of greeting and a smile before we sit down together and connect to my healing.

5 years later today and I get tearful even now thinking about how far I have come, and how much work my therapist and I have done to be in this place I am at today.

I am still working through hard hard things, but it’s a new level of hard. It’s a level of foundation that was built in those 5 years which serves as a very strong foundation for those hard moments.

My therapist Andy is one of the best people I have ever met. He is wisdom filled, gentle and caring. He is open to hear and is honest to tell, and authentic when he speaks. I can trust him with my whole past and with my now. He has truly helped me see what life is like on the other side of this pain I have been in for over 30+ years.

Sometimes in the work I would walk ahead, sometimes he would walk ahead, sometimes I would run ahead, and sometimes he would hang back while I learned to seek things in front of me – and sometimes we would both sit because it got that hard – BUT NEVER gave up, as we both showed up, and still continue to show up each time.

I am emotional when I say that I am honored to walk this path in therapy! I am honored to have someone on my side that can strengthen my life outside to my kids, my wonderful husband, and my friends.

Andy has showed me the way to life in a way I never thought was possible. He has helped me out of the walls that tore me up everyday, and he took my hand gently and pulled me out to see light to my path.

I then took that light and I worked hard to find my path as I did the work to my healing. My path is lit every turn I take; I just need to trust to keep walking towards that light – even in the hard times like now.

I sit here today and I am tearful thinking back to 5 years ago, to that woman who was fearful and shaking, who stood up straight in her chair, with one foot out the door – yet tomorrow I will show up tomorrow and the next to continue my path towards me.

I am truly blessed for this path that GOD has laid out for me. I am truly blessed for the 4 walls that he has provided me to speak my truth, and I am TRULY BLESSED for the Andy he has sent me so that I can heal towards me with someone I can trust.

I am at a hard point in my therapy right now.. I am reconnecting back to what feel familiar. Sometimes when you work so hard, you come up against paths in the road that are not as familiar. In the past couple of weeks or so, I have walked around them, feeling a little lost, but the one thing I trust is that, I will get back, because I trust the process that God has surrounded me with.

Thank you Andy for everything you have done for me as I write this 5 years today into the journey. Thank you for the connection and your wisdom in helping me to see life beyond what I only knew.

 

 

9 comments

  1. Karen – so glad that I found you again, and what a PERFECT blog to come back to. me being a therapist I held my breath in this blog.. you made me feel proud of myself for being a therapist just reading this.

    What a great writing about what you experience in the therapy room, and boy you really are a great writer. Your therapist is a great soul, and it shows in your work.

    Thank you for sharing this experience, sometimes being the therapist on the other side, we never know what it feels like to be you, and you nailed this.

    continued blessings Karen, and I am so glad to have found you again.

    Hanna

  2. Karen – WOW, I love this, this is pure and real. I also go to therapy and you really shed light on what therapy is and how wonderful it cane be.. healing is a beautiful thing. Thank you for sharing Karen

  3. Karen, I also am a LPC licensed therapist in Florida, been practicing for over 9 years now. I have to say this blog writing really gave me a new perspective on how a client moves in and through therapy. You had me tearful, and what a wonderful experience you wrote about, and how you are still healing.

    I wish you the best in your path to healing, and thank you for this wonderful writing

    Christine

  4. Hi There Karen

    What a beautiful write, and so honest and faith filled. YES God does put people in our life, and spaces, God obviously loves you very much

    Janice

  5. Karen, this is so inspirational. I was in tears having one of those moments where you’re not just Karen my friend, but Karen that has this amazing story and has had to work so dang hard through all of this. I also feel like these therapists who shared on here …thinking of my own clients and my own work. Thank you for sharing this :)

    I love you and am so very proud of you! Beautifully said…

  6. Hi Karen- My name is Gracie and I saw your post about the 4 walls of therapy and I think this is a great story! I am with Tracy, it had me in tears too, I hope you shared this with you therapist.

    I am not a therapist, but I am a life coach, and even your words gave me hope to be better at what I do.

    Your story gave me this goose-bump feeling, which followed by a warm feeling – I wanted to reach out and hug you, your so beautiful in your true self and your words.

    Thank you for sharing this moment of 5 years with us.

    Gracie

  7. You are such an inspiration to me Karen. You give me hope, you really do. When life gets tough, and I am having a hard day, I come to your blog and you give me hope that I too can move to a new place. I loved this blog

    L.

  8. Again – You do an amazing job of articulating the therapeutic process !!
    Question – May I “use” some of your statements to emphasize the power of the therapeutic alliance? I notice you do not allow re-posts, so perhaps I am pushing a subtle boundary.
    Most importantly -> You Go girl!!!!! :D

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