Stepping into the Bigger Picture
In a recent blog post I talked about the value of keeping your defences. This time, let’s reflect on what might be possible from a series of counselling or psychotherapy sessions. Many people come to counselling or psychotherapy with the hope of making some changes that will help with their immediate problems, so it is sometimes surprising to them that it can offer more.
What's on your plate
Counselling and psychotherapy certainly has the potential to help you with what’s on your plate right now. Whether it is a problem with a relationship, with work or dealing with some aspect of your personality that’s troubling you, there are some times in your life when it can help to talk to someone to get things back on track.
The big questions
However, counselling and psychotherapy also has the potential to help you with some of the big-picture questions as well – “what’s important to me?” or “what do I want from my life?” or even “who do I want to go through life with?” These questions go beyond immediate problems and into the realm of transformation and restructure of the self.
We need to find time for the bigger questions
These broader questions often get put aside because we are so caught up in trying to deal with the immediate problems, and we just don’t have the energy or the ‘brain space’ to deal with the bigger questions. That’s fair enough too – it’s hard to think about self-fulfilment when you’re struggling to put food on the table. The difficulty is that if we don’t deal with what is immediately bothering us, then we may never have the capacity to deal with these larger questions. In many respects, this is the difference between ‘counselling’ and ‘psychotherapy’; the first is about the immediate problems, the second is more about long-term restructure.
Change and growth
These big-picture questions might seem to you like just another layer of problems. However, their emergence is the sign that you are in a process of change and growth. You may not know what the outcome and destination will be, but it is an indication that you have started the struggle to make long-term changes for the better, and the momentum builds.
Put simply, through the process of working on the immediate problem and finding yourself without some of its burdens, you may find that you have a greater sense of self, more clarity about the things that you wish to achieve, a heightened desire to express this emergent self and a renewed drive to accomplish the goals of this new self.
– Tim Hill