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  • Tara Ferguson, PhD

Client Stories: The Journey of Therapy

This poem was given to me by a very special client at the end of our therapy journey together. It is a beautiful metaphor for the process of therapy, and perhaps makes it seem a little less scary, so I wanted to share it with you :)

The Path

The visitor shows up with a map that she can’t read.

I want to go to this Place, but I can’t find it.

She hands the folded map to the Guide.

It is full of squiggly lines, symbols and signs.

Can you help me? I’ve tried but I keep getting lost.

The Guide says yes but the trek won’t be easy. The path can be long and arduous.

But if you stay strong and lean into the journey, I believe we can get there.

The visitor agrees, and the pair set out on the journey to get to the Place.

Being unconditioned for this work, the visitor experiences frustration and anxiety.

The Guide tells her, you must build up your strength and endurance for this emotional journey.

How do you know, the visitor asks?

I have helped clear many paths, including my own, so I know what will work. But you must be willing.

The Guide is encouraging and patient as the visitor learns to use the tools.

Some days, they carefully cut the brush that has become overgrown through the years of neglect.

Other days, they remove heavy boulders that are blocking the way.

Then, there are days that a chainsaw is required to cut through the trees that have fallen from turbulent storms.

After many months of struggling the visitor stops and asks the Guide, do you feel that?

What are you feeling, she asks?

The air around me feels lighter and more life-giving.

The visitor is feeling stronger, and the tools aren’t so clumsy anymore.

That’s good, says the Guide. You have made much progress. Can you visualize the Place you desire to reach?

The visitor closes her eyes and sees water but not much else.

Let’s keep going. There is more clearing we must do.

Grumbling, the visitor musters up the willingness to continue.

One day the visitor trips and falls. Angry, she sees red and her thoughts race. She wants to retreat.

She almost gives in, but then she thinks about how far she has come. She remembers that clearing the path to the Place can be difficult, but it can also be immensely gratifying when progress is made.

So, the Guide helps her to her feet, and they continue their journey.

The visitor now has a deep trust in the Guide.

Miraculously, as she opens more about things that have troubled her, the obstacles on the path start to shrink to a more manageable size.

The boulders become rocks, the trees become logs and the brush is more easily tamed.

How about now, the Guide asks? Can you visualize the Place you so desire to reach?

The visitor closes her eyes and sees a wide sandy beach with palm trees and sand dunes that go on for miles. She sees the ocean with beautiful waves rolling in and seabirds that fly overhead. The sun is warm on her shoulders and a cool breeze kisses her face.

She takes the deepest breath she has taken in many months and says, yes, I see it more clearly now.

The Guide smiles and says the Place you desire is already within you.

With this awareness, the pair stop and reflect on their time together.

The visitor has become a warrior, a willing participant in the clearing of her path. She is grateful the Guide has brought her this far.

Saddened, she knows the time has come to part ways.

Knowing that there will still be obstacles, she forages ahead with the tools the Guide gave her.

After a few minutes she looks back and yells, hey what do I call this Place?

The Guide smiles again and says, I call mine Peace.

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