Individual Counseling

The Process Of Growth Is Paradoxical

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Most people who decide to go to therapy to overcome various problems of living are looking for answers. They want these answers to be concise and concrete. Their mentality is basically, “Here’s the problem. What’s the solution?” And they can’t be faulted for this expectation. Seeking outside help is a tacit admission of the felt incapability to solve a problem alone.

But human growth requires exploration, it requires asking a lot of questions as the layers are peeled back and insight into the psychology around a life situation increases. The early stages of therapy, and actually it could be argued the whole course of therapy, should be defined not by coming to quick, decisive answers but by opening up the psychological field ever wider by asking more and more questions. In this sense the process of growth is paradoxical.

Hopefully during this process there will be many answers, many ‘aha’ moments that shed important light on the life situation, but these answers will invariably lead to a host of new questions, new problems to solve. It’s easy to start to feel lost and desperate a the previously taken for granted givens of existence that anchored behavior are put under the microscope and must be tweaked or outright discarded. Where once there was a measure of certainty suddenly there’s uncertainty. The whole point of therapy was supposed to be to increase certainty not decrease it, to get answers not to be forced to question everything.

But through this process of exploration people begin to know themselves in deeper, more profound ways than they ever did before, and sooner or later they do become certain of their perceptions, of how they want to be in the world, and of the best ways to confront and overcome their various problems of living. But this certainty, unlike the previous instillation of norms and values that occurred before they were even consciously aware of what was happening, becomes the result of their own courage, hard work, intelligence, and use of their inherent capacity for critical analysis.