The Gifts Of Therapy

Over the last several years, I’ve made a few posts about my therapist, Collin. 

He has been of immeasurable help to me at times when I was in need. 

Last week, I found out that his heart no longer has the strength it needs to keep him with us beyond a year. In his words, he said he has about 6-12 months left. 

In our conversation, he said that he would continue to see clients as his health allows and I asked if he could slot me in for some time. 

I’m fortunate that, as of late, I’ve not felt “in need” of therapy as I have in the past but, at this point, me meeting with him is less about what he can do for me, and more about how I can repay his kindness and guidance before he leaves this world. 

I hope you don’t mind that I take a few detours with the blog to leave you with some of his wisdom during the remainder of his time left.  

Collin has been instrumental at reminding me what happens when you leave childhood trauma unchecked and unhealed. He gave me books to read and homework to do on my own time to help me understand what happens when we don’t heal our wounds. Speaking only for myself, trauma that isn’t processed hurts people who should never be targets. 

Throughout our time together when he and I were meeting more routinely, it wasn’t uncommon for me to spend most of our hour together going on and on about what was happening in life, good and bad, and him listening patiently as I spoke.

He would ask a few questions along the way, gaining more insight, but more often than not, Collin would find a way to sneak in a question or a statement that would stop me dead in my tracks. I would often tell people: that one “thing” would make the cost of the session worth every penny. 

Collin would rarely give me advice, rather he would shine a light on my thought process, offer a perspective, and allow me to marinate on the rest. 

A sentiment he shared with me early in our time together, which I reflected on several years ago was this: when you’re in enough pain, you’ll change. 

The context for his comment is of less importance than the lesson itself. Often, we stay stuck in certain patterns because we fear change or we’ve convinced ourselves that where we are, despite the discomfort, is the path of least resistance. Only when we’ve determined that the pain we’re in can no longer be tolerated do we find the resolve to change. 

So profound was that sentiment that it inspired an article of its own on this site about four years ago. 

When I was looking for a therapist in 2019, I knew I wanted a man, not because I wasn’t comfortable with a female therapist, quite the contrary. I wanted a male therapist because I needed a paternal voice after losing my father in 2011. Collin became that voice.

It stands to reason that the thought of losing him brings back memories of losing my Dad.

I’m not ready to lose Collin. And I am certain that he has other clients who are in the same boat as me: unwilling to say goodbye and trying to make the best of the time that’s left.

If you currently see a therapist, especially an effective one, you know how valuable they can be.

If you’re not seeing one and you feel stuck in certain parts of your life, I will always advocate for that search. It’s worth it.

I know that I will have to be on the lookout for another therapist again, but in the meantime, I hope to give something of the “gift” back to the man who helped me find my footing.

(Pictured below, a photo of Collin and I from 2023.)