My experience, both personally and professionally, has shown me that it is a “combing through” of tangles in our lives that leads to lasting change. We often desire an easier and less painful process, but when we are really in knots patience and perseverance are the orders of the day. These stuck points and areas we can’t seem to move through comfortably on our own often require many passes before we are find our way through, as it were.
It can be exceedingly frustrating to find yourself stuck in old defenses and behavior patterns despite knowing and believing we should or shouldn’t do this or that. Self help books are fantastic for helping us see what we are doing “wrong”, but often fall short because insight avails one only an intellectual understanding of a problem. A client may find themselves engaging in co-dependent interactions with a romantic partner, for example, multiple times during the course of treatment and feel bewildered as to why they can’t seem to “get it right”. But, each combing through of an experience can yield a deeper understanding of unconscious triggers and motivations and help slowly build the emotional muscle to finally discontinue a toxic relationship, for example.
One way to think about it is this: We can’t digest and metabolize monstrous size bites of food. We don’t eat a whole meal in one mouthful, right? We have to take each bite, chew, and swallow so our bodies can take in the nourishment we are offering it. Our minds aren’t much different, really. We have to bite off each experience, take it in at a measured pace, and then prepare for the next experience.