July 6, 2017

An Open Letter from a Therapist.

*Warning: Just a few adult words ahead!


Therapy is a “come as you are” kinda deal.

It’s a place where you can be real—let more of yourself roam free. You can be honest.

There is no uniform. I don’t care what you look like.

You don’t have to put on makeup. You don’t have to wash your hair. Arrive in your pajamas or your Burning Man tutu.

You can shave…or not. Come as you are, as long as you are comfortable. (Bunny slippers seem to work really well in therapy, I’ve noticed.)

Freedom of expression reigns supreme. There is no script. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to say it.

You can say “fuck.”

You can say “fuuuuckkkk!!!!!!”

You can scream, sing, whimper, whisper, sneeze, cry, and moan. You can curl up into a ball on the floor. You don’t have to impress me, entertain me, or appease me.

I am the only person in your life who does not need you to be any particular kind of way.

Therapy is that one place where the structured roles you play out in the world don’t work anymore. They serve no function, other than to block the process of therapy. So you are invited to put the roles to the side for a while.

We’re searching for you in the therapy room. You, apart from the person others think you are and apart from the person others need you to be for their own purposes.

I am here to witness who you are, what you think, what you feel, and how all that comes through in the language you choose and how you are using it.

You get to stop pretending things are okay when they don’t feel so okay. And if you have gotten as good at pretending as most, that might be a tough one to drop.

It’s more than just walking around in your undies on a Sunday morning and drinking O.J. straight from the carton—although, admittedly, that is one version.

Transparency in therapy is about being so clear and honest about your inner experience that there are no roadblocks in the process of accessing it. No ego defenses stand between your authentic experience and what you own and reveal.

Denial, repression, suppression, displacement, projection, reaction formation, regression, sublimation, rationalization…they all fall away. They’re unnecessary. When we are willing to be transparent, our egos can tolerate the truth without these false layers of protection.

If we are overly invested and clingy in identifying in any particular way…as beautiful, industrious, honest, noble, intelligent, we will inevitably miss out on perceiving where we are ugly, lazy, deceptive, self-serving, and uninformed.

The holistic human experience is lost.

Transparency involves the willingness to be revealed as less than our ideal selves.

Daunting? To the false ego, most definitely.

But, to those souls yearning to be known and loved in the fullness of who we are, transparency is the doorway to a more authentic way of being.

When you let go of the false ego, the process of being revealed can unfold, and I can see more of you. You can see more of you.

You, in all your naked glory and misery.

You, in your struggle to find meaning in this life.

You, when the anger inside was so raw and electric.

You, when you came to a crossroads in your path and forged your own way forward.

You, when you messed up a good thing.

You, in your void and in your madness.

You, when you arrived at the inevitable end of your tragic love story.

You, when you finally got caught.

You, when you touched upon a still, sublime moment amidst the swirling surrounding chaos.

You, when you held her hand for the last time.

I want to know you there. There is where genuine encounter is possible. I want to meet the you who is capable and willing to reach inside and pull out what is here.

A moment of transparency.

If you allow.


Relephant read:

What Therapy is & isn’t—from a Former Therapist.


Author: Mollie Lyddane
Image: Naud/ Flickr
Editor: Khara-Jade Warren
Copy Editor: Leah Sugerman
Social Editor: Callie Rushton

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Mollie Lyddane