What do you want most for yourself over the coming year?

In my previous blog I talked about a desire for our transformation that’s laid down in us in infancy and never goes away.  According to psychoanalyst Christopher Bollas, because our mothers once transformed our internal and external environments by interacting with us and helping us to develop, we retain the memory of that at a level beyond awareness and always need experiences which promise a metamorphosis in us.  It can be a quest for a new partner, a new job, a new home, a new political cause or whatever.  In the jargon of psychotherapy these things are called transformational objects.

When change needs to go deeper

Sometimes getting the transformational object will do the trick and bring us the change we crave.  But at other times, the transformation may need to happen at a deeper level and may require some outside help.  For instance, we may be dissatisfied about our very selves, aware that something’s not quite right deep down inside.  Whatever it is might be affecting our relationships, our job, our peace of mind or our self-worth.  It might be impacting on our confidence, our sense of who we are, our strength, our freedom, our potential, our fulfilment and our happiness.

The transforming potential of therapy

This is where psychotherapy may be able to help.  It is itself a very powerful transformational object.  It’s not quick because we’re not wired up to respond dramatically to rapid fixes when problems have become ingrained in us over many years.  But, over time, it does offer the hope of profound and lasting change.  It doesn’t offer a cast-iron guarantee of success either – only a reasonable chance that if we really engage with the process something good and even life-changing can ultimately emerge.  Inner change can bring about outer change.

Taking the plunge

Taking the first step is, of course, one of the most difficult bits of the whole process.  It can be very anxiety-provoking to contact a complete stranger to talk about extremely personal things with a view to embarking on a process that’s totally unfamiliar.  All I can say is that one day you may be glad you found the courage to do so and that the complete stranger doesn’t remain a stranger for very long.  A relationship may quickly build up in which you can feel comfortable, safe, respected and heard.

‘How it helped me’

Listen to this.  It’s what a person said as they looked back on what therapy did for them:

‘It gave me a greater understanding of myself, gave me more confidence and made me braver in my encounters with people.  I’m more able to express what I feel or want or need.  I can communicate better and not be afraid to speak out.  I know the effects will be different for everybody but in my case it’s made me less depressed and made me happier.  Being in therapy gave me hope.  That’s what it does, it gives you hope.  It made me able to get the best out of life.  It doesn’t wipe out all your troubles but it helps you cope with them better and it helps you go towards life’.

I wish you a very happy New Year.