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How Therapy helps. Psychotherapy offers us a chance to know ourselves (again).

Updated: Mar 17



"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up."

Pablo Picasso.


One of the extraordinary things about being a patient in the unique and private space therapy affords is the experience of reimagining the world with childlike curiosity: wondering, being playful with ideas and inquisitive about one's relationships, how you see yourself through your experiences, how you got to this place in your life, what matters to you and, of course, what pains you.  

 

Pablo Picasso laments that in adulthood, we become detached or lose touch with this intuitive part of ourselves, our sense of awe, curiosity, and creativity, "Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up."

 

As a child, I witnessed the social awkwardness of a group of fathers at a birthday party. Congregating by a garden wall, they ruminated about the gathering leaves overhanging a roof. They all declared an urgent need to climb a ladder and “clear out those gutters”. In desperation, one even said he would go home and do the same “to finally get my house in order”. The group nodded their approval but remained at arm's length. Even then, I felt this conversation strange. I often wondered if it was coded language for something deeper, more personal, and maybe uncomfortable – certainly something they were reluctant to share openly.

 

In my clinical practice, I witness the gift of playfulness and enquiry with each patient. How therapy helps is that it offers the opportunity to sift through the debris and ‘clear out those gutters’ in a safe, confidential, and boundaried environment - whatever may lie there. Importantly, it allows every patient the space to explore, be curious, and re-imagine - a gift that so many of us seem to have lost connection with in our adult years.

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