Most people who come to see me have some expectations for how healing is going to go, even if they are unaware that they have these expectations.
And so often healing and making progress looks nothing like they expect. This can be both wonderful and frustrating.
So here are some hard truths about progress:
Progress is not linear (swipe for just one potential depiction of what healing and progress can look like).
There is rarely the big change or aha moment, progress is usually made up of gradual changes in behavior, thinking & feeling. Sometimes people feel like they are doing therapy or healing wrong because it is not big momentus changes all at once.
But when you are working to heal long standing trauma, it’s important to remember that it took you a while to build up your defenses and way of being in the world, so it’s going to take some time to change. However small the forward movement is, it counts and deserves to be celebrated.
Progress doesn’t have a particular look and healing may look different for each person. This is why it’s important to not get too hung up on comparing your process to that of others.
Set-backs and relapses do not negate your progress and are often part of the process. Although it may feel like you are back to square one you are not, because you are coming to this place with more knowledge, experience and skills than when you started out.
That’s also why I think it’s important to point out that we often revisit the same issue with new insight and understanding at various times in our healing. We are doing this because we are healing different aspects of our experience. So perhaps the first time around you were healing and learning that it was not your fault, and the next time you revisit the issue you are learning that you are safe. Both parts are important to learn and heal but often do not happen at the same time.
So all of this is to say that healing is healing, whatever it looks like. Please be patient with yourself and remember that are a work in progress!