“There’s nothing wrong, but there is something more.”

Most people come into therapy in some sort of crisis. Or, at the very least, there’s some sort of “presenting problem.” I figure this is as true in NYC as anywhere. Most people probably wouldn’t imagine any other reason for seeing a therapist.

The word therapy promotes this idea. After all, you get “therapy” for something that’s wrong or broken: physical therapy for a knee injury, chemotherapy to treat cancer. Psychotherapy (what I really mean when I use the word therapy) therefore would seem to suggest some sort of treatment for something that’s wrong psychically, i.e. an emotional problem.

Only there’s something remarkable that actually happens in the therapy room. When therapy works (which has a lot to do with the therapist, but also with you, the patient, making it work), not only does the crisis improve, you start taking on work, in therapy, that doesn’t have much to do with problems at all. You start to use sentences that begin with the words, “I want to get better at…” or, “I’d really love to have…”

You start to want more.

Growing after the pain stops.

We’re highly accustomed to dealing in problems. Something’s wrong, so you fix it, or you get help to fix it. But there’s a lot that doesn’t fit neatly into that box. Nothing need be broken to want more. And there’s oh so much to want:

You might want to earn more money…

Or get healthier…

Or make more friends…

Or have better relationships with the friends you’ve got…

Or build better relationships at work…

Or just about anything else.

 

What do you want?