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  • julienaylorcounsel

Therapists are there to 'fix you', aren't they???

You know the scene……………. Someone (the therapist) is sitting in a chair, dressed smartly, with a pen and a notebook, furiously scribbling and glancing in your direction from time to time. You? Well, you’re lying on a couch opposite, talking about your childhood, teenage years and beyond, listing all the things that are ‘wrong with you’ and all the ways you are messing up your life.

The therapist is making notes about all your flaws and everywhere you are ‘going wrong’ in life. They then proceed to tell you all that you need to do to make yourself ‘better’. They have the knowledge and the power. They know what’s good for you and are going to tell you how to do it. If you do what they say, you’ll be sorted. Fixed. Cured.

Brilliant. Off you go…………………….

ARGH! Even just typing this makes me feel queasy (amongst other things). The above is exaggerated, yes. Nevertheless, it’s a scene people could envisage when imagining therapy. ‘There’s something wrong with me and I want it right; if I go to see a therapist, they’ll confirm that and tell me everything I need to do to ‘fix myself.’’

Just pause a little with me.

Take a breath.


Your therapist is not going to ‘fix you.’

You, with your inner wisdom, intelligence, connection, power, effort to dig deep and explore? You’re the one who’s taking centre stage here. You’re the leading person in your own life.

Yes, you are struggling. Yes, things are tough. Yes, you feel awful, disillusioned, fearful, sad, lonely, anxious, down, discombobulated and a whole host of other emotions. This can be terrifying, challenging to navigate, overwhelming and isolating. AND, you’re in there, in the midst of it all, a flicker of something deep down that wants change, that knows the way things are at the moment don’t feel great and can be worked with.

When you come to a therapist, you want some support. There’s something(s) going on that feels too much, too heavy for you to contend with on your own. You need a witness, a balanced other, someone who can see you from outside of the situation(s) and offer insight, challenge the beliefs you might hold about yourself, notice emerging and re-emerging patterns; dig deep, explore these aspects that live within you, shine a light on things that might have been kept in the dark.

To imagine a therapist working ‘at you’, or ‘on you’, rather than with you, suggests a power dynamic of a therapist as ‘all seeing, all knowing, all encompassing and knowledgeable.’ They may well be that and that’s great. But, without you? Without your unique experiencing, ability to show up, be honest and open about your life and experiences, talk about meaningful, often painful emotions and distressing circumstances to support yourself? Well, there would be nothing.

You know yourself more than anyone in the world ever could. You have a unique presence and intelligence about yourself and your world……. even within the challenges that may accompany you on life’s journey. A therapist is present to navigate this with you, alongside you. They might provide useful insights, unique ways of looking at you and the issues that you bring, methods and strategies of relating that you hadn’t considered before, deeply ingrained patterns (and the origins of these) that you hadn’t previously recognised in yourself. It can be a wonderfully, challenging experience; one that can radically change your world.

Looking outside of yourself for someone to ‘fix you’ is not (in my therapeutic philosophy) what therapy is. A co-created effort to deep dive into your world and support you in discovering things for yourself, so you might grow, prosper, and live a life that is aligned with your true essence and nature? That’s the one. That’s where it’s at.

Oh, and sitting in a chair, writing notes with a suit on?

You won’t find that here…………..


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