My experience with therapy began about three and a half years ago. Two years before that I began experiencing episodes of rage over the smallest frustrations. I was also just entering a major life crisis. A personal friendship of 25 years ended and I left a church after 25 years of involvement, because of control and emotional abuse issues. It was a very frightening and confusing time.
Soon after, I participated in an art therapy workshop, where we created our own “story catcher”. Frustration and feelings of inadequacy seemed to loom large and I found myself in tears during the six weeks of the workshop. Despite the vulnerability I was experiencing, I continued to show up.
In spite of the stigma that I experienced, my motive to begin therapy grew out of interest and eventually to one of need. I had a desire to understand myself better and in lieu of the frustrations experienced in the art therapy workshop, I felt that it would be good to talk to someone.
My episodes with rage were intensifying and the recent changes in my life left me vulnerable and afraid. I made an appointment with the art therapist stating that I would just like to explore my childhood. As well, the stress of life had reached an overflow and was seriously affecting my ability to cope with work and study.
The decision to begin therapy has been one of the best decisions that I have ever made. Therapy has proven to be a lifeline. It has provided a much-needed path to share and understand my story. It has become a sanctuary where I can speak my story freely without judgment.
As issues surfaced, my therapist helped me revisit and safely experience areas of my childhood and adult life that had been overwhelming. I realized that I had a safe and secure place in which to walk through traumatic areas of my life.emotions are a very important aspect of my life and it is OK to feel, express, and explore them. Therapy has given me a safe and secure environment to do so.
Stress has also been a huge factor in my life. Recently, there was an aspect of my job that I had to discontinue due to the stress it was causing. Therapy continues to offer significant strategies that help me understand and manage the impact that stress has on my life. I am developing the confidence and ability to manage stress and can handle aspects of work that once were debilitating.
Of course, I do have one of the best therapists there is. She has guided me ever so gently and lovingly through some rough terrain. One of the greatest benefits that I have received through therapy is the gift of awareness. I can give myself permission to be aware of what is happening in my world and to then take the appropriate action that I need to.
I am developing skills to monitor myself daily and, when necessary, hourly, so that I am in control and not hindered by the emotions I experience. Anthony De Mello said, “What you are aware of you are in control of; what you are not aware of is in control of you.”
My journey into therapy has been most rewarding. I continue to experience healing and well-being. It has given me a great sense of strength and security and I feel that I am the one who is now in control of my life. I just needed to be able to tell my story. Therapy provided an experienced companion to travel with me.
As a result of this extremely positive adventure into the world of therapy, I am presently completing a certificate in Initiatic Art Therapy, as well as a graduate degree in social science and counselling. I am interested in research and writing in the area of psychology and spirituality.
Rhonda Ransford lives and studies in Brisbane, Australia.
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