There's more to healing than talk.
Have you ever had the feeling of frustration after leaving your therapy session, wondering (again) why you are spending your hard-earned money and limited energy on something that only leaves you feeling stuck, or in the same place as you were before you started?
You may even feel a bit lost about what to do next to get out of this dead end called “Your Life”.
This isn’t what you imagined when you were a child or even young adult, and yet despite being in therapy (which is supposed to help with these exact kinds of situations), you’re at the point of wondering if it’s worth continuing, or if it's time to find another treatment. You may even feel discouraged, wondering if this is all there is. Perhaps all your childhood dreams about the kind of life you wanted when you grew up were just fantasy, and this “dead end" called your life is the “real world” that adults used to lecture to you about.
Well, I’m here to tell you that this is not all there is to your life, and that it is possible to reach great satisfaction in your life as an adult. In fact, your dreams and happiness can come true, and non-traditional therapy, which is more experiential and not cognitive or talk-based, is one of the ways that you can find more satisfaction in your life. There are countless “lost souls” who cannot seem to figure out how to obtain personal happiness, and through non-traditional therapies, have found incredible satisfaction in their lives. This happens through a commitment to their heart, and a willingness on their part to deeply dive into their own personal growth process — and their willingness get outside of their usual box, emotionally.
Here are five reasons why you might feel like you’ve reached a dead end in your life, and why the therapy you've tried up until now may not be helping you at this particular time.
1. You’ve grown emotionally, as much as, or past your therapist.
You might be wondering: “How could this be possible? Aren’t all therapists supposed to be evolved? How can I have grown more, emotionally, than my therapist? They went to training for this, aren’t they supposed to know what to do in these types of situations? Isn’t my therapist supposed to be emotionally stronger than me?” Well, sure, in a perfect world. The reality, though, is that not all therapists are committed to their own personal growth like you might be. No one can guide another person somewhere where they have never been themselves. As such, if your commitment to personal growth and healing is greater than that of your therapist’s, then you will, in fact, reach a point where the process halts, and they cannot take you any further in your process. It might be time for a new therapist.
2. It’s the wrong kind of therapy for you.
Not all types of therapy are made equal. Some approaches, such as talk therapy or cognitive therapy, focus on strategies such as stopping a behavior or changing a response or perhaps adjusting your thoughts about things. In these cases, your growth is going to stay relatively superficial. These types of therapy believe that change begins outside of yourself, and don’t bother much with deeper inside-world kinds of transformation. I tend to believe that deep change first happens inside and once established and supported, begins to radiate into your outside world organically. I have seen this happen time after time for many individuals who have come searching for body-mind-spirit approach therapy. This kind of experiential therapy leads to deeper fundamental changes, which is the only way to experience greater ongoing satisfaction both in one’s inside and outside worlds. If this is what you’re searching for, then it sounds like it might be time for you to find a different kind of therapy.
3. Maybe you need a new definition of being “stuck”.
Not every moment in therapy follows a direct or linear progression towards happiness. In fact, feeling frustrated is a part of the growth process. Frustration is one of the most powerful motivations for growth — without this experience, none of us would seek out therapy or even feel compelled to grow. A tiny seed that gets planted in the ground spends the majority of its energy pushing through the dirt, with no light or air around, until one day it pokes its tiny head up and out of the ground and can feel the sunshine, and all the while we would still say that it was growing. Such is the therapy process. Sometimes “stuck” is a good thing, it motivates us to grow towards our light and make changes for the better. And when we are in that place in our growth process, we need different kind of emotional support than your therapy might be able to give you. Without this specific, tailored support, our growth will halt.
4. It might not be time yet for your next piece of growth.
How can this be, you ask? Well, believe it or not, our brain is not responsible for dictating our emotional growth, rather, our soul and deep wisdom inside of us determines the pace of our personal healing and growth process. As such, this deeper spirit inside of us does not operate on a logical or linear time frame, nor does it quantify or apply logic as to when our next piece of growth needs to unfold. Growth happens when we have enough emotional supports inside to deepen into more of our heart and feel more of the unfelt feelings from our childhood. And it takes time to build those emotional supports, especially when support like this was not modeled or supported in childhood. In these cases, I like to think of stuck as being a place of “actively waiting”. Much like a mountain climber who is spending time at base camp to let their bodies adjust to the altitude, in these places in our therapy process, we are emotionally acclimating to a deeper level of consciousness, and readying ourselves to feel more of what we could not feel when we were younger. We cannot move until our spirit determines we are ready. Doesn’t always make sense to our rational brain.
5. You might not want to be in therapy right now.
Think of it like this: none of us sits down at the dinner table and eats non-stop. There comes a point in time where we our bodies feel full, and we get up from the dinner table and move away to digest what we’ve eaten. When we’re ready to eat more, then we move back towards the table and begin to take in more food until we feel full again. There is a natural moving towards, taking in, and then moving away to digest, and this cycle continues each day throughout our lives. Therapy is similar in this way. For some people, they may need a break from therapy so that they can digest what they’ve learned and how they’ve grown, try some things out on their own, and then they come back to therapy when they are ready for more. So, occasionally, feeling “stuck” isn’t about a dead end in therapy, but actually is a message from our deeper soul wisdom, communicating to us that our next piece of growth actually looks like having our “no” and taking a break from therapy for a while. And this boundary needs incredible support from a therapist, otherwise, our growth is undermined and we fall back into a dead end place in our life. I work from the notion that absolutely everything that happens in life is important and necessary, and always has an excellent reason behind why it is happening, even if our logical and rational minds do not always understand. And this is where the right kind of deeper experiential therapy can help — it helps us decode what is happening in our life from moment-to-moment, and learn how to meet our needs in a more satisfying kind of way. And this is how we feel more satisfaction and happiness, more movement in our life, by learning more about what is really going on deep inside of us.
You do not have to feel hopeless if traditional talk therapy is not working for you. There are other ways that you can work on getting what you want in life. Your frustration might be your clue that it is time to get out of your box and begin experimenting with other types of support that feel meaningful to you. This exploration will be the beginning of feeling more satisfaction and creating the life that you have always wanted!
Kate Schroeder is a therapist and life coach who utilizes the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator ® and the Enneagram, as well as body-mind-spirit healing practices to access one’s inner wisdom in order to create a life filled with satisfaction. Start changing your life today by downloading her guided imagery program, Soul Meditations: Building A Relationship That Lasts, or visit Kate at Transformation Counseling, LLC for more information on how to connect with your best self.
Originally published at YourTango.com
Kate is an INFJ-3 on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and Enneagram.