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  • Fe Robinson

Taking responsibility for your own healing

Responsibility can be a tricky concept to work with in psychotherapy.  It is a double edged sword.  On the one side, it is a given that a client needs to take responsibility for their current experience, and their well-being in order to get better.  On the other, believe themself to be entirely responsible for their symptoms and how they arrived here is not only a distortion of reality, it’s also damaging and can prevent progress.  Loathing and self-blame never helped anyone heal from anything.


So what to do?


Step one is about having a clear outcome.  You need to be clear about what you want, and how that is different to what you have now.  A multi-sensory impression of what this will be like is essential, you will need to know it when you have it.  Knowing what your evidence will be, and when and how you want your therapeutic goals is key.  This information provides the terrain over which you are about to travel, from where you are now to where you seek to be.


Step two in my experience is to stabilise and shore up a client.  Knowing our own strengths and capabilities, recognising our support systems, and developing our inner resources is essential before we head off on a journey of self-discovery and change.


Step three then is about reflection, and honesty.  Honesty with yourself.  Deeply looking and listening, and being prepared to accept what it is you see.  Not accept it as in say it’s OK or be resigned to it, but instead accept it for what it is and what it has meant for us.  Add to this acceptance of your role in whatever has arisen.  Daring to look at your ugly bits is important if you are to move to wholeness and healing.  Here we really understand where we are, and how we got here, with all of its diffuse responsibility born of the web of relationships that is our life.  You can not begin to move until you are utterly clear about where you are and what is around you.


Step four is then about exploration and journeying.  Having moved through steps 1-3 a great deal of change will already have happened, for many clients their therapeutic goals may already have been met and no more is needed.  For others, there are a range of ways that they might move forwards, in re-creating narratives, in coming to terms with feelings, in learning new ways of relating, in resolving past traumas…there are many flavours to psychotherapy and each person needs something unique to them.  This is the point at which we need to step up and be responsible for our own process and well-being.  There is little healing in a 50 minute intervention once a week, unless it is embedded within the rest of the week being a reinforcing way of being that engages with the process afoot.  You may not have got to where you are on your own, but it is under your own steam that you will get someplace else.


Step five is about consolidation and ending.  It’s an important step, often missed.  We need to know the path travelled and to become familiar with where we now are if we are to embed the changes we have made and minimise the risk of relapse and symptoms recurring.  We need a good experience of ending to maximise the benefits of the therapeutic work that has been done.  Good therapy has a wholeness to it, the end is often obvious, and well-managed can be an uplifting part of the process.


Psychotherapy, whether in person or online, can be a deep and challenging process.  It happens within a therapeutically intimate relationship where you come to know yourself in a different way.  There is a lot of support and advocacy, and a lot of challenge too.  It can be a very rewarding process.


If you’re up for journeying into your future supported by meaningful psychotherapy in person in Darlington or for UK clients online, get in touch.



long bridge over a ravine

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