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The Courage of Therapy

I recently wrote an article for Therapy Today on the vulnerability of going to therapy and the incredible growth you can achieve by attending sessions:

“Our wounds are often the openings into the best and most beautiful part of us.”
 – David Richo
One of the most courageous acts a human can make is to accept their flaws and look within themselves to take the appropriate steps to develop as a healthy individual. I work with brave people on a daily basis. Every time I meet a new client in my Los Angeles office, I am enlightened by their motivation and strength to make change in their life.
Walking into a therapy office can be terrifying, as it requires a person to be vulnerable and expose their imperfections with a perfect stranger. For most, talking about our most inner fears is not an easy task. I have worked with many different people over the years and there is one constant about the people who make change in their life, being vulnerable is the recipe for growth.  It is not easy to be vulnerable since most of us have been hurt in so many different ways and the idea of going through a similar pain by announcing our shame, fear, and guilt can feel overwhelming and almost traumatizing for some individuals. A vast majority of people hold onto their fear which manifests in many maladaptive ways yet the ones that expose it, and denounce it, can rid themselves of the constant self-doubt, shame, and guilt.
When I first meet my clients I like to have a frank conversation about the therapeutic process and the fact that it is not easy yet can be very rewarding. Sometimes clients feel worse before they get better, but by committing to therapy they are allowing themselves to achieve beyond their current limits and achieve a state of emotional maturation.  It takes a true warrior to take that stance and move forward. I am proud of my clients who walk into my office. The ones that stick it out are true heroes.
While I was in my graduate program, one professor explored the human journey and the need to take chances to maturate in life. He detailed the writings of Soren Kierkegaard, a Danish philosopher in the 1500’s. One of his theories which was quite profound, depicted the human achievement of fulfillment as attempting a series of personal leaps of faith.
Discussed is Kierkegaards metaphor of the Leap of Faith:
Each man stands at the edge of a cliff in the dark of night with a fog so dense you cannot see in front of you. You are not aware of the height or landing below. One thing is certain that there is a sound of an ocean and tide below. Not aware of the water depth or clearance of the rocky cliff below we are asked to jump. We know we are not the first person to jump as we saw an individual swim out as we made our way up the cliff. Even though we are aware that others have landed unharmed we still ponder the decision based on the variables of the unknown fear. This is where we need to take a leap of faith. If we can make that jump we grow as individuals, as we never know the outcome of any event in life. It is said that if we jump we can call our self a human and once we land we can call our self a hero regardless of the outcome. Life is about vulnerability and exploring the unknown. Every time we take a chance to address our needs we will move towards self-fulfillment.

Here is to the heroes who have taken the leap of faith. You are courageous individuals and life has a lot to offer you. I look forward to meeting you.

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