On the face of it, a process that is long-term, happens at the same time, on the same day, each week, would seem to be in stark contrast to modern life.
We are promised, and expected to subscribe to, a world where our wants and needs can be met almost instantaneously, where we can have things exactly as we want them and everything – society, identity, gender and sexuality – is up to debate and can be changed. And changed and changed again.
Social media floods our senses with messages about how to be happy, grateful and fulfilled whilst espousing ‘hacks’ and quick fixes for depression, anxiety and every human condition in between.
The shelves in book shops buckle under the weight of the latest ‘self-help’ guru or fad and life coaching promises tangible change in a few sessions. And if it does not work for us? Well, then we are simply not trying hard enough.
Psychotherapy subscribes to, and offers, none of the above.
It is not quick, it is not an experience where you can get immediate gratification or a relationship that will affirm you as always being right. It is something very different.
In many ways, psychotherapy is an antidote to all of the above. It is about learning through relationship to be in relationship with ourselves.
Through relationships we begin to see ourselves through the separate eyes of another who is compassionate, boundaried and can withstand us; nobody should become a psychotherapist if they want to be loved.
Psychotherapy is the opposite of Instagram and Facebook – it is about deeply knowing and accepting who we are and learning to live a meaningful live of substance and depth: it is about learning to be ordinary. And it is about accepting the realities of life: that life is unfair, often hard and that the only substance is to be found in relationship.
Car crashes have a nasty habit of drawing our attention. And then, of course, the likely outcome is another crash. When we see a car crash it takes a mature mind and person to not join it; to keep their eyes on the road and focus on their own experience.
The modern world is comprised of ever more car crashes – not necessarily in the literal sense, but in the many dramas (real and streamed to us) that draw our attention away from the road. Psychotherapy is an antidote to this – helping people steer a steady course through the chaos and drama and remaining in relationship to themselves. In this sense, psychotherapy matters very much in the modern world.
Mark Vahrmeyer is UKCP Registered and is one of the Brighton & Hove Psychotherapy Co-founders. He is an Integrative Psychotherapist with a wide range of clinical experience from both the public and private sectors. He currently sees both individuals and couples, primarily for ongoing psychotherapy. Mark is available at our Lewes and Brighton & Hove Practices.