Last week, my therapist told me he was taking a new job and could no longer have a private practice or see me. I had mixed feelings about this. I have been working with him for about a year and he is the first therapist I have worked with who has provided valuable information that has really helped me make changes I thought were impossible. I have a way better understanding of how my mind, body, and spirit all work together. I am so much better at combating anxiety, worry, and the fear of negative interactions with other people. I have become more assertive and do not let myself believe that my needs and feelings are less important than those of others. I have a lot more clarity, strength, and overall sense of calm.
While it is hard to end that relationship, it is clear that now I am equipped to do so. As a counselor, I know it is important to discontinue seeing, or “break up” with my therapist. If done right, the point is to be able to take what I have learned and put it to practice. There comes a time when it is up to me to continue without a regular appointment. Discontinuing therapy does not mean that now I am on my own and have to face the world with no support. The support just starts to look different. Sometimes, part of therapy is to build support and know how to support others. I have no problem building my community and being someone who cares for others, so I am sure I am not alone moving forward.
One of my goals was to start being more independent. I have never been afraid to ask for help, but sometimes, that left me being dependent on others and not pushing hard enough to do something on my own. It can be hard to know if I am able to do certain things because sometimes I lack clarity and don’t trust myself. At times, I am not sure if I am scared, frustrated, or if I actually cannot physically or mentally complete the task.
To practice my independence this summer, I tried to do things I had never done on my own. These things had to be concrete so I knew I was making progress. One of the things I did was go camping and figure out how to set up and take down my site all by myself. In the past, I always shared a tent with someone and was never very helpful. I depended on others to do it the “right” way while I mostly just sat back and watched. Doing this a few times has been just the thing to increase my confidence and I know I am able to do things by myself.
I am aware that most people are able to pitch a tent without second-guessing themselves. This is just symbolic of how I have been able to step back and recognize that I had some pretty big misconceptions about what I can and can’t do. I live in a beautiful state with endless opportunities to play outside any time of year. For some reason, I have always lacked the confidence to make room in my life to play outside more often. I relied on other people to take the lead. While I know it is not smart for me to explore the outdoors by myself with little knowledge, I have the courage to take a more active role. It is so good for me to breathe fresh air, challenge myself with new activities, and just get super dirty. Having done this simple thing this summer, I have noticed myself taking more opportunities for independence.
I am so grateful to have had the experience of working with my therapist. I love knowing that I am able to do more than I think I can. Over the last year, the work we did has changed me. No matter how hard it looks, I will now try new things on my own. SO, now that we all know that I can pitch my own tent, who wants to go play outside with me??
I went looking for a song about being an independent woman, really liked this one, and then saw it was at a Stand Up To Cancer event. How interesting… Enjoy!