Saltar al contenido

My own therapy process

Throughout my life I had felt as if I didn’t always fit in with my family, friendship groups, or with work colleagues. I felt guilty and alone because it happened to me all the time and I didn’t know why. I decided to research the topic to find out what I could do to relieve my suffering because I couldn’t find a solution. I did a lot of reading about cases like mine and I even thought about going to therapy or studying psychology, just to understand my situation.

terapia con jo foto de sesión al aire libre por jo steel
terapia con jo logo de APHICE por APHICE

I had a job that caused me a lot of stress and little satisfaction (as happens to almost all of us!), and during the Pandemic my department was closed (was that really luck? ha ha!). I found myself with a redundancy payment and the idea of changing career. I signed up for a Master’s in Integrative Humanistic Counselling at the Galene Institute in Madrid and spent two years studying, doing placements with clients and going through my own therapy process (a mandatory element of the Master’s). Counselling is a type of therapy that provides psychological support to people to help them heal.

I loved the Master’s and it provided me with everything I needed to be able to practice as a therapist, the theory, the placements with clients, the experience of my fellow students, but more than anything, what helped me the most was my own therapy process. I spent almost two years in my process of weekly sessions, with a wonderful therapist, also from the integrative humanistic model, and she helped me learn to heal my pain.

At first I didn’t know how to participate in the process or what to expect from the therapist. There were many sessions when I would talk to her about what was happening to me and at the end I would feel that I had achieved nothing. This is because I was in such a bad state that I didn’t see that I had to have faith in the process, and that it was MY process, just mine, and that it was MY space, just for me. She gave me this space to create my process. She only expected me to commit to participating and to come to the sessions ready to work with her. She told me that our suffering usually has several layers, and that during the process we become aware of them, removing them one by one as we heal. She also explained to me that I would do most of the work, between sessions, in my free time, reflecting on what we had worked on. On my course they told me that you had to trust the client, that they would know what would be right for them, with the support of the therapist, gradually realising the path to take. And they were right. I had to be patient enough to be able to realise what I needed in order to heal myself.

terapia con jo foto de sesión al aire libre por priscilla du preez en unsplash
terapia con jo foto de sesión al aire libre por jo steel

We did most of our therapy online, but on one occasion I asked if we could do a session using ‘walk’n’talk’ therapy in a park in Madrid. We both found it beneficial as I could use the metaphors in nature around us to express my feelings, and I found that the movement involved in walking helped me to be more in touch with my emotions and so express myself more clearly. We stopped occasionally to look at each other more intently as I talked about some more personal and detailed topics. I decided to do my Master’s thesis on the viability of combining humanistic integrative therapy with walk’n’talk therapy. Part of my research involved surveying therapists and clients about their experiences of walk’n’talk therapy and the response was overwhelming, that if the client enjoys being in nature and agrees to do it, they prefer it to sessions in a consulting room or online. This is one reason why I offer walk’n’talk therapy, as it helps some clients to connect more easily to their emotions and to work through their malaise.

One day, during a session, I realised that my suffering had healed, that I could move on alone, independently and autonomously, without the need to be accompanied any longer. It was clear to me that the changes I had made in my life since therapy began were the right changes, and that I had the necessary tools to face possible future problems. And it’s true, because since I finished therapy in 2022, I have the resources to take care of myself and live a healthy life. I know that I can return to therapy at any time and that my therapist will be there for me, because we had a strong therapeutic relationship. On her part, she showed me an unconditional positive regard, with respect, naturalness and human warmth, or better said, with love, and without ever judging me. She is not my friend, nor a family member, but a professional who was able to accompany me until I could continue alone. I return her love with my own human warmth and we message each other at Christmas – a small show of human contact.

terapia con jo foto de un letrero con un mensaje sobre el camino en el proceso de la terapia por nik en unsplash
terapia con jo foto del amor y la consideración positiva incondicional por freestocks en unsplash

I don’t believe in being able to cure our suffering, but rather in healing it. It is a matter of learning how to and getting used to living with our pain in a manageable way. We can’t make it disappear, but rather understand it and turn it into something bearable, so that we can move forward with it, all while living a full and healthy life.

Sometimes I have bad days, and I remember my therapy process accompanied by my therapist, who helped me to find my way forward. And I do keep finding my way.

Now being a therapist myself, I follow the example of my own therapist, and in my work I accompany the client, I follow their rhythm, I actively listen to them and respect them, with an unconditional positive regard, with human warmth and without judgment.