When life gets tough, there are two pre-occupations that most often come to the fore. We talk about what is happening, and why it is happening.
We might reflect on who did what to who, what is happening in our bodies when we are ill, the events leading up to a death or relationship break up. The story or narrative we construct cen become powerful, running through our minds and conversation again and again.
The other question people often torture themselves with is why? Why me? Why them? Why now? We look for meaning and purpose, oftentimes we even look for someone or something to blame, in the hope this will move some responsibility and relieve any sense of guilt or culpability we are feeling.
Expressing and exploring the what and the why are important endevours, we need to express what it is that we feel and think. When we can do this and move on, noticing ourselves updating the meaning we make from things as time passes and new insights come to life, that is a good place to be. However, if we are looping or stuck with these questions, something more is needed.
A powerful question to ask in talking therapy is how? How are you experiencing this? How would you like the way you experience it to be different? How do your beliefs and values help or hinder this experiencing? How might you make the transition you want? While we may or may not have much influence over what has happened or what is happening, we do have a lot of influence over how we experience what is happening. Coming to understand the patterns in the way we think and act, how we process information, how we connect to feelings and our body, how we are energised and how we free up our energy to act can be important elements to the healing process, when we are ready for it.
Therapy is essentially a modelling endevour. Modelling how you are getting what you are getting, what you would like to have happen, and how you can move towards that. The chief modeller, the chief detective, is the client themselves. At best therapists can develop their own mental model of your way of experiencing things, but their information will always be partial and have holes, your own map of what is happening is most likely much richer and more nuanced.
Your therapist is there to help YOU understand more fully, and through this to enable spontaneous change to happen. Simply observing, noticing and reflecting in and of themselves enable change in what is experienced, this is the gift therapy has to offer.