Person A: “I think you need to see a therapist”.
Person B: “Excuse me??? Are you crazy???”
When you hear the word “therapy”, “psychologist”, or “counselor”, what do you think? Most people think, weakness, dependence, rejection, fear, anger, mmm, what else is the ego screaming??
First, let’s make a distinction between therapy and psychoanalysis. From my experience, therapy deals with specific issues that we go through life and we need an objective reflection of what is really going on. We look at our reality with our lens, which is very much tinted by our history and our culture, thus needing a more objective view of the present. The therapist helps us cope with that reality in the best possible way.
Psychoanalysis can start as a form of therapy if you don’y know what you are really getting into (like me…) but eventually it evolves as a way to look inside ourselves, make peace with our past, and find our true self. At least this has been my experience with Jungian psychoanalysis. How can we find ourselves if that self is covered by anger, fear, or resentment? We have to process all that, come to terms with what has happened in the past (since we can’t change it) and move on with our purpose in life. Easier said than done, of course!
Therapy is easy, I think, because it deals with the obvious. It can be helpful, or not. I think one of the biggest pitfalls is if we become dependent on the therapist, looking outside of us to solve our issues instead of inside (and yes, I honestly pronounce myself guilty of that…). We may give our power away and that does not help us in the long run, I think. Jungian psychoanalysis deals with our unconscious mind, that part of us that we can’t see. It also deals with our past so that we can understand ourselves in the present. It can be really painful sometimes. But going through the pain, understand it, and make peace with it brings us to a higher level of understanding and consciousness, and we can live our life free from the past. In psychoanalysis, the analyst presence is almost unnoticeable and we need to do most of the work, we have the power, either we like it or not. He/she guides us into our unconscious realm so that we can uncover our true self. A guide to our soul. It takes immense courage and willingness to do that work. It takes time, energy, and resources. And it is a choice. It does not mean that we are stronger, better, or happier if we go into psychoanalysis. There is no guarantee. It is just a choice that we make in life. But the reward if far greater than all the hardship, at least this has been my experience. I guess I am lucky.
So, next time you hear the word therapy, have an honest conversation with your ego. “Hey ego, I know that you want me to be strong and powerful, and, as much as I am all that, I am also emotional, intuitive, and vulnerable. And it is ok. And this is what it means to be a human being”.