Being a therapist involves entering into many worlds in one day. Each client brings a world. A world of people, activities, feelings, and beliefs.
For many people their beliefs are facts. The work of therapy is often to realize that facts are just beliefs. It is a softening, a widening of vision, an understanding of our context and then of our possibility within that context.
Facts don’t offer much possibility.
Examples of facts that are actually beliefs include:
Parents pay for the wedding. Men don’t cry. Women talk a lot. I will have children. Everything is fine.
Facts bind us tightly. When life challenges them we hold fast. As the evidence mounts against one of our favourite “facts” we need more and more energy to hold on. And thus we are tired.
We are tired. Our dreams scream. We have an extra beer or two. We are grumpy with the people we love. We eat a lot of cheese pizza.
The storm might pass on its own.
Or we may be forced to re-examine the facts.
If we decide to enter therapy we start out by telling our therapist all of these facts.
It usually feels amazing to pour it all out. The whole scenario from our point of view. To someone who is on our side.
And then a few sessions in, something our therapist says irritates us. Or perhaps it just seems so wrong we interrupt her to explain why what she is implying is not at all the case.
Or perhaps she asks a question that we hear as an interpretation that we must reject. So we do so at great length.
Or we hear her question and we cry. No one has ever seen this before. We know in our core she is right. And finally we have let it out.
This is the work of examining the facts.
Done for long enough, a sustained practice over time, the world itself changes. It changes into an infinite number of facts that are not facts. A constantly changing place that cannot be pinned down or explained in any comprehensive way.
A moment of surrender to this is a sweet gift.
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