My clinical externship lasts 10 weeks, and upon its completion, I will no longer qualify for the counseling services at my school’s counseling center. My excitement about no longer being a student is also met with apprehension and mixed emotions as the end of the most intimate and helpful therapy relationship I’ve experienced rapidly approaches.
As the deadline draws nearer, I find myself reflecting more and more on the impact that these past 3 years of therapy have had on my life, as well as what it will be like to no longer meet with my current therapist and whether I will continue “talking” therapy with a new therapist.
I must admit, I am pretty anxious about having to discontinue services with my current therapist. I have never experienced anxiety about ending past therapy relationships. Usually, my experience has been quite the opposite – I couldn’t wait to get out the door!
This time is much different. Three years is a really long time, and I needed every minute of it to get to the point where I am now. The thought of attempting to develop a similar rapport with another therapist is rather exhausting and almost overwhelming to think about.
My perspective on so many things has changed since beginning therapy. Actually, I think a more accurate statement would be that I have finally begun to grant myself permission to consider my perspective on things. My value and belief systems have been there all along, but I have been closed off from them for quite some time.
|My live-in therapist :)|
The only way I could confidently identify myself was as a martyr for the needs of others. To say that I could no longer stand up for myself would be an understatement – I had pretty much lost all awareness of what boundaries I still possessed and whether I had any right to guard them.
When I first began therapy, I wanted to be told what to do. Honestly, I wanted to be rescued. These feelings only intensified this past year as I began to openly admit that I had internalized my experience with rape instead of dealing with it and that it was permeating my every move in the present.
Though I tried desperately to hide my desperation, even from myself, I could not help but notice the flailing hands reaching out from me in search of something to hold onto. I was drowning.
Utilizing a client-centered approach to sessions, my therapist has enabled me to see that I, and only I, hold the life preserver that will help me reach stable land. For this lesson, I will be eternally grateful.
Though I still have a great deal of work ahead of me, I am wondering if, come August, I will have the skills I need to press forward to shore without attending weekly therapy.
Whatever I decide, I find comfort in knowing that I am in charge of whatever path I take.
In the noble words of Buddha:
“No one saves us but ourselves.
No one can and no one may.
We ourselves must walk the path.”