Take a Seat; Therapy is a 10 Year Process

Inner Child Therapy

It would have been nice to know this, even though it likely wouldn’t have been accepted.

Whether you go to therapy because you have an emotional eating issue (as is the theme of this blog), anxiety/depression or because your spouse tells you that you need ‘fixing’, there are a few things you should know:

1- The entire process can take 10 years or more depending on how hard you work.
2- YOU, have to do all the work. The therapist is there to create the proper environment to make it happen and is invaluable, but you still have to do the heavy lifting … and there is LOTS.
3- You will get much better results if you treat it like a work or school project. Take notes, start a journal, read, read some more and think about it everyday.

Not a great marketing strategy.
If those 3 points above were on the front page of all psychotherapists’ websites then it would be safe to say that they’d have far fewer clients. I don’t mean to infer that they are deceitful or misleading at all, just that the reality isn’t that appealing.

Good Therapists are a Luxury

The service that a competent therapist can provide is one that I don’t think most people can appreciate. Aside from having a gentle and wise old wizard take you under his wing, they are one of the only people capable of having the exact and most effective type of relationship with you, that will yield direct and potent results.

That being said it is a long and difficult process, but one that is well worth it.

For emotional eaters this is definitely not welcome news. Nobody wants anything in life to take 10 years, bute having to endure a body you don’t like and emotional pain you can’t take is not something we have patience for.

That doesn’t mean you won’t make progress.

Your body will likely be one of the first aspects of you that change, and, within 10 sessions or so (provided you take it seriously), you will start to feel a shift in who you are. That’s what growth is.

And you will like this.

The feeling of getting better is addictive, and you’ll be happy about the smaller changes that add up over time, rather than wait for one massive, internal makeover.

Don’t Let Your Expectations Become an Obstacle

I am breaking the unfortunate news in this blog post about the length of time it takes to heal, not because I want to discourage you. I believe that having a realistic expectation will actually speed the process up. Allow me to explain:

Home (Self) Improvement

Say you’ve decided to tackle a new renovation project at home ( a small bathroom for example) and you’ve allocated about 2 weeks to get it all done after some preliminary calculations. As the project progresses you find there are delays, back ordered materials and unexpected issues. You really wanted it done because you couldn’t STAND the way the old bathroom looked any longer and just wanted it gone, NOW!

But these problems keep creeping up and your frustration level rises. Your patience is thin and you have other things that need tending to, and that old bathroom you couldn’t stand is still there.

At this point you just want it done and you care less about the project standards you initially had and start to cut a few corners, buy material that is available but that wasn’t really your first choice and spend more money than you wanted to. On top of that you are losing sleep, are irritable and making those around you uncomfortable. In essence you are;

Making poor decisions and not getting adequate results.

– In fact you’ll likely have to do it all over again at some point, which means that these last weeks were a waste and your desired result will be delayed.

Or …

– You could have patiently allocated 6-8 weeks to allow for all the delays and unexpected issues. This would have ensured that everything was done properly and on budget and even though it took longer than you initially wanted it to, it was done right and you are now ‘happy’.

With therapy and most everything else, it’s the same. If you are impatient and are looking to make everything go away fast, you’ll likely not go through the process properly and will tend to be scattered and off in many directions. You’ll be spinning your wheels and after 6 months end up in the same place you were at the start of it all.

I do want to point out that it is not easy nor expected for anyone to be perfect and to not feel an URGE to just speed the whole thing up and run off course every now and then. Our emotions exert a powerful pull and everyone falls of the wagon. The hope with this post is, with this new awareness, to have that happen less frequently.

10 Years!

You didn’t expect, want nor deserve this. Both your inner child (see above image) and your adult self are right to be angry. It’s not your fault but it is your problem now.

The silver lining in all this is that you’ll end up knowing yourself better than you would have had you not been wounded as a child and made to carry these emotional scars. Your relationship to others will also be deeper and more meaningful since you’ll have a much better ability to empathize and show compassion.

You’ll learn to appreciate life’s sweeter moments and be less apt to waste or take them for granted.

Your family will benefit from your growth, and that alone is priceless.

It’s also worth every penny, minute and drop of sweat.

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