Why would I want to go and talk to a complete stranger about my issues and my life?

This was a question a friend posed to me when I suggested she might find it useful to discuss her relationship problems with a professional.

On reflection, the idea of sitting opposite somebody I’d never met before and laying my life bare naked, exposed and raw was kind of scary. Would I be too much? Will I cry? What if I get angry?

How can I trust this person?

It turns out these are all perfectly normal reservations many people face before taking the first step in arranging their initial session with a psychotherapist or counsellor.

What I learned fairly quickly into my therapy sessions was that this therapist wasn’t there to judge me or to asses me like a doctor. They were there to help me unravel my ball of confusion; shed light on my shade and decontaminate my thoughts. My therapist became someone I trusted; someone I felt safe with; someone with whom I could be my genuine and authentic self.

This therapy malarkey is very different from talking to a friend or family member for a number of reasons:

  1. There is no sense of overwhelm no matter what the issue.
  2. They will most certainly be separate and impartial to my personal drama.
  3. They will listen in a completely different way.
  4. They are trained to support and to challenge where necessary.
  5. You are always the centrepiece of the session.

Essentially, what I learned from therapy is that I have the keys to all my locks; the missing pieces to my puzzle. I just needed help in finding them and making sure they fit. Talking to a “complete stranger” has changed my life immeasurably. I feel whole and complete. I’m okay and you’re okay too.