The Internal Compass

Therapy increases confidence and builds self-esteemPeople approach therapy for diverse reasons. Often they leave counselling with more than they expected. Aside from what we initially approached therapy for, what else is occurring in the counselling process?

If you have ever had therapy, you may have found that sometimes you leave a session in an unusually good mood but can’t quite seem to put your finger on why. You feel a lot more confident than usual, more certain of your convictions and with a resolve to follow your own path. You feel less doubtful and more earnest in your ability to decide what is best for you. Why is that I wonder?

Well I’m about to let you in on something. You are in the process of strengthening your self-belief. You are starting to become self-reliant and less concerned with the opinions of others. You are beginning to trust in your own powers of evaluation and there is a reason why.

Primarily it is that you are beginning to realise that your therapist believes in you. And not in some kind of schmaltzy, Hollywood movie kind of way, they actually do believe in you, and if they believe in you, then maybe you should too. Your counsellor is convinced that you are the best person to consult on how to manage you and your own life, and they know this for a very good reason.

At this point, you are probably asking your self why. What do they know about me that I don’t know? Do they have the gift of second sight, and what am I doing or saying that they are able to see this?

I’ll tell you why there is a reason that your counsellor believes in you and it has less to do with extra sensory perception and more to do with their training. The thing is, your counsellor will most likely have been taught about the way people develop. They will be well aware that you are in possession of a unique internal guidance system. This system is a wonderful kind of navigation device called an Actualising Tendency. This tendency equips you with everything you need to make judgements and evaluations, based on instinct and your ability to take in new information. Your therapist knows that you are fully equipped to live purposefully, to achieve, to develop, to experience, to produce, to be creative, to have fun, to gain knowledge and to do pretty much anything that you set your mind to, however.

Sometimes this internal guidance system gets interrupted. Remember in science class what happened when you put a magnet next to a compass? It interfered with the direction of the needle. The very same thing can happen with your internal navigation system. Things can intrude and cause distortions. Life experiences, setbacks, things our parents, teachers or others might tell us can knock us off course. We can be inclined to internalise other peoples perceptions of the world as truths and give less credence to our own. That is not to say that these opinions or experiences are necessarily wrong, it is just that they may have more to do with other peoples internal guidance systems than our own, and they can start to mess with the information we are getting from our internal navigator and cause confusion. We start to question the validity of our own thoughts, opinions and choices and we wonder if our internal compass is working properly. This is often why we go for counselling.

Because your counsellor knows all this, they have absolutely no problem in viewing you in the highest regard. In fact, they are often surprised at just how clever and resourceful you are. Like I said, they believe in you. On some level, you will be picking this up and this will be helping you to reset your compass to exactly the right location, without distortions and firmly where it is supposed to be. You will be realising that you have everything you need to move forward confidently and with the knowledge that your internal compass is trustworthy, working well and as it should be.

Image © Luke Palmer

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