Driving through the world with no map is difficult. Imagine yourself getting into your car grabbing the steering wheel and looking out through the front window. You have a destination but look around your car realizing, there is no map or gps. You start the engine with a destination in mind but the gps and map whereabouts are boiling in the back of your mind. “I just want someone, something to tell me where I am going!” How will I ever get to where I want to be?” This question in my experience as a therapist is not uncommon. I like to think of myself and other therapist as silent navigators.
Like a gps we have training to help a person navigate through their own problems. Take out the gps voice line, the navigation lines, and the estimated time of arrival number, bam you got yourself a bonafide therapist. Pump the breaks, one may think they are getting a gps to help through their psych but may be a shock when they start with therapy. It is one of client's biggest difficulties when they are in therapy. It brings us back to the same question before, “Just tell me where I need to go, to do, to be healthy.” Seeing the same client for a couple months or sometimes years has us therapist grinding our teeth holding ourselves back from blurting out what we think they need to manage their mental health.
Even though we need to hold ourselves back from interpretation we have many experiments or tools in our pocket to help people navigate themselves. Experiments are different activities for people to try during the therapy meeting which eventually can be tools for future use. If there is a successful experiment the person can have an “Ah-Ha” moment. An "Ah-Ha" moment is when a person have self discovery about the situation. It is my favorite when someone actually says, "Ah-Ha." When the person gets the gratification from an experiment because they got to an “Ah-ha” moment their brain will remember that for next time they need help finding a solution.
This is why we are like silent navigation systems. I think that from successful therapy meetings clients will remember how they felt from the navigation tools we help facilitate. Am I saying that in the future they will hear our voice when they have negative emotions or thoughts? No. I simply just want people to know that not every person can help them. They should see a trained professional who know how to use the tools appropriately for self-growth. If you went to a friend or family member and they suggested you to do something and it doesn’t lead you where you want to go, who knows how it will effect your relationship with them. Let us therapist be that help. If something doesn’t work and it results in clients hating our guts, its ok. We are prepared for it because like a regular gps we get yelled at to. Our training and experience have led us to a point where we won't give up until we find a way that works for you.