Psychotherapy provides a unique opportunity to have a meaningful conversation – the conversation about your life. In the frantic tempo of modern life, it can be difficult to have time or energy for any conversation. I often hear from my clients about how tired they are when they get home, about how the last thing they want to do is interact with someone. And when we converse, there is so much to arrange, figure out, coordinate. There are kids to be picked up, dry cleaning to be dropped off. There’s what to have for dinner and appointments for cars, teeth cleaning, and veterinary visits to be made. Most of what we talk about tends to be about, well, what has to be talked about to get things done. Sometimes there are national news issues to discuss or sporting events that capture our attention and frame our discourse.
There can be little time or opportunity for meaningful dialog. That is where psychotherapy comes in: it provides the time and space, and another human being, in which to engage in conversation. And while there can be logistical matters to take up in psychotherapy, mostly the two people talk about the client’s life. Sometimes that conversation is expanded between three people (as in couples therapy) or more (as in family or group work). There are meaningful questions to addresses. What is it that one wants? What direction is one going in? And a question that I particularly like to take up with my clients: what is it that one dreams? Quite often these conversations center on what is distressing the person. Why is it that one finds oneself repeating patterns? Why is one unhappy at work, in one’s relationship? Why does one turn to drugs or alcohol?
Psychotherapy is about an enduring conversation. A conversation that, over time, as the relationship between therapist and client deepens, reaches great depths and an intimate connection. A conversation that at times can be humorous or sad, brief or ongoing over many weeks, months, sometimes years… Such conversations help to clarify what is important, what direction to take, and give meaning and satisfaction to life. I’m quite fond of these conversations and feel quite privileged to be a part of them.