There’s an assumption that you go to therapy to fix what’s broken.
I believe this is a reason why people regard therapy with such hesitation. It’s painful to face your fragmented life and it can be even more painful to pick up the pieces.
If you’re a bereaved parent, you might not see the point in therapy because you know there’s no fixing what’s been broken. There aren’t enough sessions in the world to put together your heart that broke when your child died.
You may be right, but I believe that therapy is one of the greatest tools for healing after a loss.
Therapy is not meant to provide a cure; it’s meant to help heal.
While I may not know your story, I know the heartbreak that comes with it. You have experienced the death of your child and said goodbye to the dreams that went with them.
This will always hurt.
Therapy will not change that, but it has the potential to provide the strength you need to bear this pain for a lifetime.
Finding the Light
My time in therapy has not taught me how to face the death of my daughter as much as it has taught me how to face the life I’m living after.
I have sat on that couch, week after week, and worked on accepting the uncertainty that life holds. This is so hard.
My whole life, I have struggled with anxiety.
Losing my daughter has given height to my worries, but therapy has taught me to take hold of what I can control and to let go of the rest.
Therapy is validating.
My therapist provides me with the perspective that is so easy to lose when you are living a life of grief.
When I am low, they are there to help me up, but only when I’m ready. In times of soaring celebration, they remind me to keep watch for the safety net below.
My therapist is not there to force one particular emotion on me. They have taught me to hold space for the happy AND the sad in my life.
I know that I have been fortunate to find a professional that I feel so safe with. This level of safety and trust takes time.
Sometimes, it takes many attempts to find a good fit. You may need to take a break from searching and that break may last years.
But, I urge you to keep trying.
Once you find that person, I need you to know this: When you finally find a therapist who you feel safe with, you must become prepared to feel uncomfortable.
A good therapist will push you into places of discomfort because experiencing discomfort is a sign of growth.
However far they push you, please know that therapy should never bring you to a place of harm. You will know the difference.
Therapy is important.
No, it’s not meant for everyone but I think it’s meant for most. I can’t guarantee your satisfaction and there are no promises I can make that it will help you on your journey.
All I can do is share my experience and encourage you to consider seeking help from a mental health professional.
Therapy will not unbreak your heart, but it can help to round the sharp, shattered edges.
Photo by Christelle BOURGEOIS on Unsplash
Rachel Whalen is a mother, wife, and Kindergarten teacher from Barre, Vermont. Her life’s work is to keep the memory of her daughter, Dorothy, alive through words both spoken and written. Rachel shares her family’s journey through loss and all that has come after on her blog: An Unexpected Family Outing.