Dear therapy clients,
I am writing because there are a few things that I’d like you to know, whether they are spoken or unspoken during the therapy process.
* You are strong and brave - even when you don’t feel like it.
I see you. I see all of you. I see your strengths, your talents, your challenges, and your vulnerabilities. I see you as a whole person, doing the best that you can. I know that you sometimes feel weak; meanwhile, I get to see exactly how strong you really are. You are brave enough to open up to a therapist like me, so you are brave enough to make many other powerful changes in your life. You have made it this far after all, and you will keep going. Just take one step at a time.
* Sure, you could go through this by yourself, but why would you?
One of the most common things people will say in therapy is, “I should be able to figure this out on my own.” And, of course, you could try that. But, if you have the option of getting more support during a difficult transition, then why wouldn’t you just do that? Think of all the people who you support in your life, either directly or indirectly. You deserve to feel supported along the way as well.
* Not knowing is part of the process.
I see your frustration as you try to figure out the grand questions of life. I know it is not always easy for you and I see how hard you are working to try figure it out. I see you trying to connect with your inner wisdom to find your way. When you feel frustrated and disappointed, I invite you to observe these difficult feelings as they come… and as as they go. Have patience, let them go, and begin again.... Know that you are not alone in this feeling.
* Know that you are loved.
You may feel alone and unloved at times. Feeling that way, though, is not the same as fact. Knowing you, I can say with all the certainty in the world that you are loved. I have worked with thousands upon thousands of clients as a therapist and I have yet to meet an individual who wasn’t loved by someone. I also know that something very special happens when one person decides to trust another by sharing their most private feelings and experiences, say with a therapist. You build a connection. As your therapist, I want you to know that I care very deeply about you. Knowing who you are, I know that there are many others who care about you as well.
Congratulations on taking the time to get to know yourself better by going to therapy. You are taking the steps necessary to make profound and important changes in your life. Don’t forget to give yourself credit for what a big deal that really is.
Anna Lindberg Cedar, MPA, LCSW is a Bay Area psychotherapist and Founder of Therapy for Real Life. Anna specializes in self-care coaching, relationship repair, and burnout prevention with busy professionals. Many of Anna’s self-care strategies are drawn from Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) — a counseling style that combines Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and other change-based skills with mindfulness and acceptance-based strategies to help you lead a more balanced life. Find out more about Anna’s counseling and consulting work on her website (therapyforreallife.com) and in her writings as a Contributor to Teen Vogue, The Mighty, and Medium.