Transforming or rediscovering beautiful places and spaces is something we do in our homes but seldom in ourselves. I love seeing old spaces transformed, be it on TV shows that re-design homes or restaurants, be it in my own home, or watching the transformation of a renovation. The beauty is the end result, but what is the process. Let’s explore therapeutic analogy in the lens of reconstruction and renovation.
Starting our Renovation
We start with a room or a house that has some scars, some hurt and some neglect. We then decide we would like to transform the space and have an idea of the functionality we would like in the room. But perhaps do not have a full vision of what the end result will look like. We then request the help of an architect with skills and knowledge in this area, they assist us in an overall vision. A great architect takes your request, style and vision in to consideration and creates something for you; that fits with you. In other words, that feels comfortable and in line with your being.
Once we have the vision, the goals and plan for the process we are undertaking, we can begin to examine the scars more closely. Perhaps calling in the appropriate professional to assist us in determining what can be done to repair the hurt. We begin the journey of restoration in what can feel like a tedious and slow process. As though we are climbing a mountain and only focusing on the mountain peak, never looking back down and seeing how far we have come.
Once we have repaired the hurt and our walls are looking clearer and more healthy, we can begin with the decor and we request the help of an interior designer. We also go off to our favourite furniture store and select items suitable to what we desire. Lifting or highlighting the parts we enjoy, feeling better about our room. Probably a bit happier to show it off in social engagements, maybe even inviting people round for a dinner party. Feeling more comfortable, content and at peace.
The Therapeutic Process
This is much like the therapeutic process – construction or re-construction towards wholeness. Where as client you experience a subjective change within yourself and in my experience the subjective changes often lead to visible, physical upliftment. This upliftment is the construction or re-construction and happens on an emotional, cognitive and behavioural level.
This process differs depending on the frame or theoretical orientation of your therapist. Although in principle, all should assist you in reaching your end goal for therapy. Each process will differ in the duration, process and things that are considered pertinent focal points during the process. Neither approach is right nor wrong, they are simply different (I will explore each in a separate article).
A little Admission
Now I need to admit, the therapeutic process and “stages” are linked and somewhat interdependent, they are not a linear flow of events (wouldn’t that be way easier). Unfortunately and fortunately (otherwise we could get a bit stuck), the ebb and flow assists in personal growth. BUT such back and forth goes against my analogy and I quite like my analogy! So for this article we’ll play pretend and look at the process in a more stage type dimension.
Much like the construction process, the first phase of therapy is identifying where your struggle lies and developing a vision of how you would want to feel or your therapeutic goals. I suppose this is the architect part, where sometimes we don’t have the vision or cannot see or even imagine the end part. We are stuck in how we are feeling and what is currently on our plate. We need someone else to be believe there is an end goal that is in our best interest and that would work or be a fit for us – that’s where your psychologist comes in.
Then (and while we are constructing the vision), we look at the difficulty and groom out what we don’t want. Here, we vent out the difficult and often unwanted feelings and make sense of how we feel. Like the repair man who clears out the damp in the walls, before re-painting. In therapy, we clear out the aspects that obscure or distort our perceptions making space for change and growth. I suppose this is clearing the clutter so we can install the new fittings for better functionality.
The Finishing Touches
Next we can bring in the interior designer to help us redecorate, highlighting what we like and creating a fulfilling space. We then go off to the furniture store where we select the items we like and pop them into our shopping cart. Sometimes, we select an item we think we would like, however later decide “Nah, it’s not for me” and either put it back or return it later. Our trip to the furniture store I equate to finding, discovering or re-discovering our needs, perhaps asking questions such as – What is it that you like? What is it that you want in your space? What is it that would help you to feel more fulfilled? This leg of the journey is all part of the discovery of what you like and need in your rejuvenation.
Once these are in place, there is space for fullfillment, for interaction, for laughter, loved ones and friends. We are on the journey to feeling whole.
And who knows, it could be quite rewarding and you may want to renovate another room in the future!