The past week, I’ve been frustrated with my progress in therapy. I’m still fairly new to the whole idea of therapy (I’ve seen my current therapist 4 times so far), and I don’t know if I’m “doing it right.” I know it’s a bizarre thing to think, but I’m wondering if I’m trying too hard or not trying hard enough. My therapist is trying to figure me out, but she barely knows me. She’s trying to make sure she doesn’t push me too hard (one of the first things we had discovered together in our first session together was that I tend to push myself too hard), and I’m trying to take advantage of our time together. It’s an interesting tango, to say the least. But it constantly leaves me wondering if I could be pushing myself more, thereby growing faster, healing faster, learning more, etc. This “slowing down” idea and not pushing myself too far goes against everything for which my body has been conditioned. But my brain knows that whatever my tendency to push things too far, slowing down will teach me many lessons.
After I was done blaming my therapist for not pushing me enough, I tried figuring out what was really motivating me to have these feelings. I came up with 2 theories:
- I think if I had a clearer understanding of what I’m supposed to get out of therapy, I’d be able to better gauge my progress.
What a concept! It’s not that my therapist isn’t pushing me hard enough, it’s that I have no idea where the finish line is, or, even where the mile markers are. So I have no idea if I’m already traveling at light speed, or if the tortoise is blowing me by.
Then I thought, I’m not exactly sure there’s such thing as a “finish line” in therapy. Sure there are goals, but they tend to be vague and less than quantifiable. Which led me to my next theory:
2. If there isn’t a “progress meter,” as in therapy is not goal driven, but more of a place to share vulnerable things with my therapist, then I’m frustrated at myself for not being more vulnerable with my therapist.
Last week, I was dealing with some difficult news that I hadn’t quite processed yet. I am now aware that I could have opened up to her and used her help in processing it, but I chose to avoid talking about it with her and tried dealing with it myself.
I very much had a hard time asking for help in that vulnerable state of mine. It could also be that I’m still in a new relationship with my therapist, and I haven’t given her my complete trust. This has helped me have some self-compassion and understanding for why I did not open up to her.
So yesterday, I told her all of this, which in itself was uncomfortable. I am very proud I did. And I am less frustrated with my progress. And I am excited to continue in this fashion.