My Thoughts on Graduating from Therapy
Last week, I officially graduated from therapy, at least for now. It’s not a decision that I came to lightly, but it is the right decision for me at this point in my life. It feels so strange to not have an upcoming appointment with my therapist on the calendar, but it is also an indication of the growth I’ve experienced over the last few years as a result of all of the work I’ve put into myself.
I started going to therapy two years ago. Strangely enough, my ex-boyfriend actually selected my therapist. At the time, he had just revealed that he had cheated on me and had also been lying to me over the course of our years-long relationship about a lot of imperative details about himself and his life. I was committed to our relationship and believed him to ultimately be a good person, so I wanted to see if we could work things out and rebuild the trust that had been lost between us. Therapy seemed to be the best place to start, since I felt like we needed professional assistance with the situation. I sent my boyfriend a list of therapists that were covered under my insurance and he picked the one that sounded best to him. I made an appointment, and we went to see her a few days later.
I had never been to therapy before and wasn’t really sure what to expect, but was certainly curious and open to the experience. I’m dedicated to my own personal growth and had done a lot of work on my own prior to this, so it was comfortable to have someone to talk to about what was going on in my relationship. I also really wanted a neutral third party to help us work through the situation we were dealing with at the time. Our first session was very emotional, but it felt good to get everything out on the table, and I felt hopeful that we could work through things together with the aid of our therapist. Unfortunately, a week later I found out that my boyfriend had not been entirely honest about the details of his infidelity, including the version of the situation he had relayed to our therapist. As a result, I made the decision to end the relationship, since I simply couldn’t find a way to move forward if complete honesty wasn’t something he could commit to. It was the shortest stint of couple’s therapy possible with just one session.
In order to deal with the trauma of the relationship ending and the betrayal I was experiencing, I decided to continue with therapy on my own with the same therapist. She had at least met my ex-partner and understood the situation, so it seemed like the best-case scenario. Plus, I was simply too devastated to go through the process of finding another therapist and really needed help while I was in the midst of profound grief.
Over the next two years, I worked through the ending of that relationship, as well as my patterns and tendencies in romantic relationships and where those had originated. I learned how to make better choices for myself and how to better tap into my own inner knowing. I met a new partner six months after my previous relationship ended, and we were together for about six months. It was so helpful to have a therapist to talk to as I went into a new relationship, since I was clearly still working through some of my attachment issues with this new person. It was actually as if all of my patterns were intensified (and not in a good way), but I was able to recognize this so much sooner and realize that it was not the right relationship for me. I don’t think I would have had the insight to realize this so quickly if I hadn’t been working on these things in therapy.
I believe that the work we need to do on ourselves in order to become the best version of ourselves is never done. Part of the beautiful experience of life is to keep becoming our best selves for the rest of our lives. There is always more to learn, always new things to experience and ways to grow. When I remember how broken I felt when I started my therapy journey and how much I have grown and healed over the past few years, I am so proud of the work I’ve done on myself. None of it has been easy, and it was so much more than regularly going to therapy. It was reading books, deepening my yoga practice, meditation, surrounding myself with people who share my values and desire for growth, journaling, working with a spiritual/life coach, diving deep into the things about myself that I want to change and really being committed to being better every single day. It’s challenging to face the things about ourselves that we want to change and to really put in the effort to grow and be better, but it has all been worth it. I feel the positive changes in myself, and I really try to acknowledge these accomplishments every so often and all of the ways I’ve grown through this deep commitment to being better.
Even in this grounded space I’m in now, it feels bittersweet and a bit scary to step away from therapy. In our last session, my therapist reminded me that the whole goal of therapy is for me to not need it regularly anymore. Therapists want us to feel strong enough to move on from them, even if it’s scary to not have that consistent support. And, if things come up in the future and I feel like I need that type of support again, I can always go back. To me, therapy is just one of the many things that we can incorporate into our lives to support our journey and growth, and it has truly been a wonderful experience for me. Part of this growth journey has been listening to my inner knowing, since I know what is best for me. That is why I am confident in the decision to move on from therapy for now, since it feels like the right thing for me. I’m so grateful to have that awareness now, since I didn’t always feel like I was in touch with myself enough to make these types of decisions. It is an empowering feeling to know that I’m improving at integrating everything I’ve learned into my daily life. It’s a magical accomplishment and one I don’t think I would have experienced if I hadn’t incorporated the support of a therapist into my growth journey.