Understand Me and I’ll Understand You
One of the things that people are seeking when they start the process of psychotherapy or counselling is to be understood. Often they feel that they are misunderstood by family and those close to them, and this lack of understanding is sometimes difficult to bear. However, there are some things you can do to be better understood.
Being understood is such an important need for people; it is one of the core attributes of anyone trying to provide help to another. The feeling of being understood is deeply relieving to someone who is suffering and often makes them feel that a burden has been lifted. In a way, it is almost an affirmation of our faith in others of our species; to be understood is the first step to having my problems lifted.
Our need to be understood is often so powerful. We can become blind to the needs of others to be understood too. So strongly do we feel the need to seek to be understood that it seems all there is in the world; and the strength of our need can diminish our capacity to understand others.
One of the things we can do to be better understood is actually paradoxical; the more we can take the effort to understand another person, the more that we can feel we understand ourselves. Many people experience similar difficulties; by understanding others, it sometimes sheds a light on our own problems and gives us insight. Similarly paradoxically, the better that we are at understanding ourselves, the more potential we have for understanding another person.
Understanding others is a key role for a psychotherapist, who can sometimes be thought of as a ‘professional understander’ in some parts of the process. Through the process of understanding in psychotherapy, you can feel relieved and unburdened. Further, since a psychotherapist isn’t asking for your understanding, people in psychotherapy don’t have the need to try to ‘give back’ during the session.
– Tim Hill
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