It is astonishing
how elements that seem insoluble
become soluble when someone listens.
How confusions that seem irremediable
become relatively clear flowing streams
when one is heard.
~ Carl Rogers
Psychotherapy is many things and works in many ways. However, perhaps the most basic, the most primordial way therapy works is by providing a space to speak, to be heard, to be received, to be witnessed.
How often are we truly listened to? How often do we feel free to say whatever is on our mind or in our heart? How often can we speak fully about what troubles us, about our fears, our confusions, our dreams, our hopes? How often is the listener truly present?
Psychotherapy provides a container, a sacred space to speak the unspeakable, to allow the "unthought known" to take shape.
By allowing thoughts to flow into the shared therapy space and be received by the therapist-listener, "ah-has" and epiphanies frequently occur; the edges soften on previously rigid beliefs, and confusing ideas or feelings may become "clear flowing streams." All this from the simple yet profound experience of being heard!
Peggy Handler, MFT, is a psychotherapist in San Francisco's Noe Valley