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How therapy "works"

The literature on therapy and helping is abundant and many (myself included) are simply doing our best. Sometimes we can’t help, sometimes we can make a bit of a difference, and if all things align, we hit it right out of the park. The great aha! What was the magic formula? Luck? A larger than life therapist? A self-actualized client? Nope.

It's always about mutual willingness. Both therapist and client work hard and dig deep. In a basic intro class we were told there is no such thing as a difficult client, but there are ill-equipped or uncommitted therapists. Sobering. So, a therapist must dig deep into an expansive bag of theories, insights and techniques, hoping (and sometimes praying) that we have all we need for this precious someone, in this precious moment. The client digs deep for the courage and vulnerability to accept it, and that is no easy feat let me tell you. Picture yourself in a situation where you are uncomfortable and unsure, perhaps feeling a little broken, and you are now to remove your armour and lay down your sword. Anyone can escape to substance, alcohol or other distractions, but only the very courageous show up to face their troubles head on. There are risks for both: a therapist risks feeling and being useless, and the client risks re-injury or feeling even worse. That said, when both parties bring their willing best, transformative change transpires!

This is important why?

I tell you this for good reasons. If you’ve been to therapy and it didn’t help, don’t assume that you were the problem; feel free to shop around and ask for a no cost phone call to test the waters. If you’ve avoided therapy, be kind to yourself because sometimes the timing isn’t right for you to enter into it wholeheartedly. I will also state here that talking therapy is not everyone's cup of tea, and some sort of healing happens every time we do healthy-good-for-the-mind-body-and-soul endeavours that fortify. There are different ways to move forward, the most important thing to remember is this: we are to be active in finding or creating the best ways to feel and be whole. That part is up to us, and we very well deserve wholeness!

This is a guest blog post from Elena Sherwood. You can find her at

Here are my links and my book.

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