Crisis as opening to more


Written by  on 19 December, 2013

Gill RiordanCounselling still holds some stigma. There’s an idea that those who seek counselling are people with “problems”, people who aren’t “managing” their lives, who are somehow weaker and less able.

I remember the feeling when, as a student of psychotherapy, my boss suggested I increase my sessions. I felt like I was sick, a no-good. I felt devastated. I also noticed that I felt open. I was vulnerable and I was strong in my openness. I admitted to myself that I did need more help at the time and that was ok. I wanted to learn and grow and not hide and make do.

I remember reading, during my main studies, that a person who is in crisis is opening up to more of themselves, allowing more to come through. This is the potential of the crisis. Of course, we can stuff it down and put up the defences, afraid of what it might mean and avoid looking at what is calling to us. The crisis passes, stuffed down into a deeper part of us, and life goes on.

“It takes courage to admit to your need for help”

The child in us, as a result of certain experiences, has fixed ideas on what can be managed and what can’t be and this is often holding us in a tight grip, even as adults. There may be a belief, held inside, that, for example, conflict is something I can’t handle so I must avoid it and in order to do this I must never rock the boat. Or it might be that the story you tell yourself is, that if someone isn’t happy, it’s your fault or if someone seems displeased or disapproving it’s because you have done something wrong. There may be feelings held inside you that seem just too big to handle so they are best stuffed down. However, this way they have a lot of control over you.

It takes courage, real courage and grit, to admit to your need for help and to take action on this. It takes trust to believe that you will find the best person for you to work with through this challenge. It takes staying power to work through the experience and learn what it is you are to learn and it takes trust. This is living and not just existing, making do.

Life is all about learning and growing, evolving, becoming, expansion. There is always more to discover and open to. It is only fear that stops us and gets in our way. So often, we stay in that comfort zone believing it is safer that way but the truth is that fear increases in the comfort zone. The best way to deal with fear and not let it be the controller is to stretch yourself, and keep doing things that challenge you and move you forward. As Susan Jeffers book title says, “Feel the fear and do it anyway”.

Life is for living and living fully. When a person climbs a mountain, they seek a guide and so, similarly, we all need a guide at times to help us climb our mountain of life so that we keep growing and moving upwards.


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