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To therapy or not to therapy? What do you think?

One of the things I have always been very open about in my life is that I talk to a counsellor. Therapy is various shapes and forms has been a huge part of my life since May '99 and, whether regular or intermittent, it is on my life necessities list along with family, friends, gin and a good book!

I had a conversation recently with someone whose third marriage had broken up and this person was in a total quandary as to why. When I asked if, in any of the marriages they had had counselling, the answer was "no, I tried it once and its not for me, I had to be too honest and it was not what I thought it would be".

Sadly all too often we envisage therapy sessions as what we would like it to be not what it needs to be. We picture ourselves being totally honest and open, hitting that zen Oprah like state where we rise up out of the comfortable chair and admit to the world, my name is ***** and I ******** (insert here what you will). We imagine that we will go off into the world a re born, re vitalised human ready to love, forgive, move on, mend and write a best selling book that will heal the world. And all after one session!!!!! Not me! Most of mine have consisted of me beating myself up after several duh moments, hearing my own voice admitting to being a can't spot the obvious numpty whilst generally snotting my way through an entire box of tissues, then leaving the session to try and avoid the nearest bakers or off license. All joking aside, all those runny noses have seriously helped through some very trying and challenging times but the one conclusion I have come to is that counselling or therapy (in my opinion) does not work if you are not honest. Why spend that amount of money if you are not going to stick with it and tell the truth about how you feel?

I guess it is the old do I want to open that wound dilemma. Your mental well being is screaming out for help and understanding but you layer on the bright pink spotted plaster and spend the money on new shoes cos that always makes you feel good.

Anyone hear the words STICKING PLASTER screaming out at us ?????

In my own experience, having ripped the sticking plaster off several times, the problem I want to talk about is not what ends up being the "duh" moment. The stress, the heartache, the dilemma that is causing us problems is often just symptomatic of the core issue and that's what a good therapist will help you realise. It is such a skill to be able to sit in neutrality in front of a blubbering, snot ridden female who has just admitted to what is really bothering her and then still ask that final question that switches on the illuminations in her head. Thereby not only helping to build a toolbox of tricks for use throughout life but also starting the path to a more copable reality and lessening a burgeoning credit card bill at the nearest handbag store.

I have been very fortunate to have worked with some amazing people whose insight and understanding has helped me through some very challenging times. It took me a while to be comfortable talking about things that had been concreted over for years, some were tiny cracks and some a wee bit bigger but slowly and surely the foundations get rebuilt. From sessions in smart rooms in the West End of Glasgow, walking in a park, wandering around an art gallery or sketching out anger in a classroom, the inner strength grows every time. There is no zen like Oprah state, there is no best seller and I cannot heal the world as I am still healing myself. My name is Geraldine and I am a work in progress!


Thank you to ** and ** for allowing me to share your thoughts

While I was writing, I was chatting to a friend. She asked me what the blog was about and after I shared the text, the comment came back that "I have often been told that you don't need counselling if you have good friends and family that you can talk to". 127 Whatsapp messages later, we centred on the idea of trust. We discussed that it is not that we don't trust family or friends it is just that sometimes deeper issues need professional, objective help that can be trusted to be totally neutral. Methinks the next blog ... trust!

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