An Insight into client therapy
Part Two (Please read Part One below before reading this).
The Last 7 Years..
This is a real life honest account of a client that has undergone therapy for help with social anxiety and depression.
I stopped seeing Steve in April 2010 as I said before having only dealt with the easy stuff. The stuff I could admit to myself – and being one for hiding behind every tiny wall and barrier possible even the easy stuff made me uncomfortable!
Each week we’d addressed something but not always through hypnosis, there have been times that I’ve just needed to talk and have a therapy session without the hypnosis bit (Life coaching and training). I’d really come a long way and I’d dealt with a lot of pent up stuff that no one really knew about because I wasn’t talking openly to anyone. Steve turned into my confidante and it really was only him that I spoke to. Knowing that you can say absolutely anything to someone and it really will go no further is a huge relief and so important for this kind of environment. Steve became one of the only people I absolutely trusted and respected – which I have never really told him.
I had a lot going on when Steve and I decided to end my sessions because at that time I’d reached the point I needed to.
I think in hindsight all the stuff I had going on was actually just a distraction from me and sorting myself out. I had other things to think about and focus on for a short time and I was probably looking for the easy way out because I so wanted to believe I was all fixed.
I was wrong. Not dramatically, unbelievably, catastrophically wrong, just a bit wrong. So July this year I returned to Steve for what I now think of as a more intense form of therapy with the added bonus of Steve’s coaching.
When I said I had literally been broken down and built back up this is what I was referring to. But I knew in order to do that I had to be 100% honest again and I’d gone back to hiding myself away so to say I’ve been uncomfortable and outside of my safe zone is an understatement! Every week Steve was challenging me and MAKING me challenge myself. There were no ifs or buts, I had to do and I didn’t want to let either of us down.
I started using the technique religiously, I did absolutely everything Steve asked me to and I started to really genuinely feel like I was getting somewhere. FINALLY!
Each week when I go to see Steve his first question is always “how have you been this week” and it’s never really until that point that I reflect back and think of things that have (or haven’t) happened. It’s odd because after a certain point the changes your brain is going through become second nature and permanent and you just don’t realise the transition. I’ll be totally honest here, for the first 2 months of going back to Steve it was up and down and I really was waiting to take the ever so familiar downward spiral again.
Steve once asked me the question where do you want to get to? Who do you want to be? When I told him what I wanted, I thought it seemed a bit far-fetched but essentially it was just to feel normal. Yes I realise I had absolutely no idea what normal felt like in my adult life but I knew I wanted a consistent feeling that wasn’t depression.
I do not know how he does it but he picks up on every little thing and gets me to think about stuff that isn’t necessarily present in my mind when I walk into the room for my session.
He asks the right questions based on my personality and really won’t let me get away with a half answer! I won’t lie here, he has seen more tears than I care to mention but it has all been part of the process.
I’ve learned a lot of things about myself that I just thought were massive defects I couldn’t fix or erase. I have always suffered from social anxiety, always thinking the shift in a room’s atmosphere was because of me and my weirdness. I’ve always worried what people think of me and try and adjust my own personality to please them – I think it’s fair to say that since I have written this for people to actually read I no longer care!
I have created a big wall between me and everything and everyone else so for several years I haven’t let anyone really know who I am. When Steve got this out of me it was one of the biggest aha! moments in my therapy. I just thought I was weird and not wired the same as everyone else so fundamentally no one would ever get me. Through admitting everything to Steve I’ve actually also admitted it to myself which just shows how dishonest I’ve been for the last 7 years!
I have always had difficulty dealing with people and issues because I do not like confrontation. So I wouldn’t day if I was upset or annoyed or just needed to talk about something. People used to get away with anything with me! Every time I have a situation now that I need to deal with and I try to avoid it I actually picture Steve telling me to “just get on and deal with it” – my words not his!
I never used to associate with anything and I’d distance myself from people and situations to avoid getting upset, hurt or disappointed but Steve, in his no nonsense way, has made me stop doing that and made me realise I am a good person and others deserve to see this. Then if they don’t like it at least I’ve been myself and they aren’t worth having in my life. That’s an uncomfortable thought – telling people to do one if they don’t like me. I’ve never done that before! And as yet haven’t had the opportunity to do because it would seem those who I’ve hidden from care and love me just the same as they did before. I’m almost waiting for the opportunity to use this new found confidence if anyone doesn’t like me!
Asking questions has always been a big deal for me as well. I always believed people would think my question was stupid or I sounded stupid mainly because of my lack of confidence and self belief. This probably made me look fairly antisocial and disinterested in other people but it was all down to fear. Steve set me a task: I had to ask at least one question every day of someone or something. First thing I felt was panic! And panic. And a bit more panic. Seriously, who was going to want answer my stupid unimportant questions?! Turns out everyone.
I realise these probably all sounds like very small issues very but I was so inside my own head and not speaking to everyone so everything built up tremendously and it literally became consuming, I was just one big ball of scared.
I have suffered from controlling family relationships in my life and this is something I am currently working on to achieve what I want and not what others want and to re-assert my own independence over those who think they know best for me. This is one of the hardest things to do being as it’s been a force of habit for pretty much all my life. But I am absolutely going to do it because I have a new found confidence and backing from Steve.
I’m also finally talking to other people, letting them in and being honest. None of that has been easy to do let me tell you! And so many times I’ve gone back behind my ‘wall’ as I’ve come to know and describe it. But if I’m going to get anywhere I’m going to have to suck it up and do it, there just isn’t a more pleasant way of putting it! I’ve gone through way too much in therapy and depression to just do what feels safest now. I’m so outside of my comfort zone but one day it will be second nature and I tell you what, when that day comes (without me realising, naturally!) it will be the single biggest achievement in my life.
Now if I didn’t write a little something about Steve McKeown that would be wrong. He is quite possibly the most influential person I have ever met and I owe an awful lot to him and his skills and patience. I meant it when I said he would save me because he absolutely did! This isn’t a long winded testimonial or tribute to Steve, this is me being honest about what I have gone through in the last 7 years and he is an enormous part of that having done more for me than any other therapist or medication!
On my 25th birthday I promised myself I would NOT be that person anymore and when I reached my 26th although I’m not quite there I am a far cry from who I was so every last little drop of my thanks goes to Steve and his support.
In all honesty, I do not like feeling vulnerable and writing all of this makes me feel exactly that and more! But …if you don’t write your experiences down, then no one else can learn and find comfort that there really is someone else out there that has been through a tough time and did actually make it through to the other side.