None of us really changes over time. We only become more fully what we are. -Anne Rice


T
herapy is not about change – when you sow a tomato seed, you grow tomatoes

A few aeons ago, I asked: 'what is the difference between peer support and therapy?' And the answer a fellow therapist gave was, 'well, therapy is about creating change in a person's life, and expecting change to happen, whereas the peer support model has no such expectations'. This lingered in my thoughts like a prickly needle through my skin; but for years I could never digest this idea about expecting or even aiming towards change in one's life, or in a personality (that is, the outward expression of how a person expresses themselves in the world). We can monitor outcomes of therapy based on changes, if they have occurred, likewise we can monitor the outcomes of peer support. But this does not mean that a therapist should want his patient to change. This is a great deal of pressure on both therapist and client. 'Why is my life still so difficult after so many years of therapy?' asked the patient. 'Well, shall we think about that together?', replied the therapist.

Therapy is not about getting to the root cause of the problem – when you plant a tree, it grows outwards into a complex web of multiple roots

The domino-effect is very real. But in human terms, we are talking about masses of dominoes splurged out in a gigantic pool of intricate pattern and shape that splurges in and out and up and down and diagonally, and side to side and round and round.... So really, there is no such thing as a root cause for a problem. This is oversimplifying humanity. It is the same as attempting to diagnose a person's mental health. For believe you me, these are ever changing attempts to describe certain experiences and frame them as symptoms. They are not tangible, hard facts based on worldwide evidence. I encourage you; no, I dare you, I implore you; the next time someone talks to you about feeling autistic, depressed, crazy, manic, being psychotic, or alcoholic, or uses any kind of diagnostic/trendy/ fashionable jargon to describe his or her experience – please ask that person what being these things means and feels to them, disentangle together what that experience really is like for them. And I guarantee you, the answer will live far away from your assumptions, or from what you read in wikipedia or the DSM. And if it sounds like an answer from wiki or gobbledegook from a book, then ask them even more questions. Just keep asking until the stars fall down, and the moon rolls round, and the sun bursts out. All this jargon is nothing but irrational man-made nonsense designed to box in earthling puzzles that are impossible to solve! Just get over it, YOU ARE NOT God. We are all a complex, organic mystery in spirit.

Therapy is not about unearthing the past – when you dig the flower out of the earth, it stops growing

Shed the past, get rid of the negative, throw it in the bin, stop thinking about the bad things that happened in your life… But before you do all that talk about it in your therapy, munch it up real well, the magical word: process it, then poop it out forever flowing in the sewage of human bestiality COUGH I meant society… Right? BEEP Wrong! Yes, talking about the past is a lot of what one might do in therapy, but really; one is never really talking purely about the past, are we really that naive to think so? If, in the present moment we are talking about something that happened in the past, we are also talking about how you and me are shaped together right now, how me/you and the world are shaped today, how I/you are shaped these days. Nobody forgets, nothing is really ever forgotten. We all live on and exist in each other, blood to blood, feeling to feeling, word to word, we carry our stories like secrets, and spread them in cocktail fantasies of allure and disease. Is it possible to pluck out a chapter of a story, dump it out into the cold, and then expect the rest of the story to make coherent sense? We'll be left with phantom stories haunting us for evermore.

Therapy is about learning when the mint is pruned, another will start to grow

Thinking bodies, not zombie floppies. Need I say more?

 

Therapy is about learning how you are in relation to the worldwhen a bumblebee feeds, it fertilizes the flower

It is not just about the universe of I. It's about the I in the world, it's about how I interact with you and you and you and you in this environment. It’s about discovering the immense power we all have on/over each other. A power, or influence emanating from good or bad intentions, that we may or may not be aware of. A therapist points out when this influence takes place, whether it be from an external source, family, friends, etc. or even an internalised voice within you that takes hold of you and leads you down a certain path you may or may not want or need in your life.

Therapy is about people becoming people – when the strawberry plant is not fed, it will never grow a strawberry

With the right therapist, therapy can become food for the soul.