Healing Isn’t Linear: What to Expect in Therapy

“For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.” ― Cynthia Occelli

I believe that asking for help and seeking support is one of the bravest and kindest things you can do for yourself. To get the most out of therapy, it is helpful to identify and manage your expectations about the therapeutic process. Many clients start the process feeling eager and motivated to achieve their goals but find themselves getting frustrated if they uncover new challenges along the way.

It is common for us to be self-critical about anticipated timelines or perceived setbacks, but growth isn’t linear. The above quote by Cynthia Occelli serves as a beautiful reminder about the complexities of healing and the parallels between humans and the world around us. If we were to view our therapeutic process like the life cycle of a seed, would we be so self-critical? Or would we simply accept that growth is messy? That change can feel uncomfortable, even if it’s good?

Wherever you are in your mental health journey, I encourage you to have some self-compassion and know that it’s okay to feel overwhelmed, frustrated, or discouraged. These feelings won’t last forever, and they don’t take away from the time and energy you are investing into yourself. Next time you feel discouraged, try to imagine yourself as the seed Occelli described, and trust that your flower will soon bloom and thrive in the environment you worked so hard to cultivate.

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