People come to therapy for a whole host of reasons but in our culture it is more typical to come into therapy when you have an obvious psychological difficulty you want to work through. This is very understandable and therapy can be very helpful in overcoming problems such as depression, anxiety or a crisis of meaning. However, therapy can also simply provide a space to become curious about ourselves and our inner life, a space to contemplate the right path.
Therapy can provide a special type of environment that allows people (with or without a mental health diagnosis) to reconnect with themselves and flourish and thrive rather than just survive. The therapeutic environment is made up of, amongst other qualities, a trusting relationship, safety, freedom and challenge. Therapy as a transformational space can set the conditions for our growth.
The opposite of a transformational space is a toxic environment (characterised by things like controlling or judgemental relationships, fear, inconsistency, pressure, conformity, rigidity, having to have the answer) and many people sadly experience such environments either in their personal or professional life – past or present.
The ramifications of being in a toxic environment can be great but so too can being in a nourishing transformational environment. Effective transformational spaces create a quality of refuge – a safe haven from the ordinary demands of life and an opportunity to let go of having to have the answer and be curious in our self exploration.
Here at the Psychology Company we see the therapeutic relationship as a factor in creating a therapeutic transformational space through being constant, reliable, non abandoning and nonreactive as well as encouraging creativity and experimentation. Therapy as a transformational space can provide you with a way of finding out who you are – we will not tell you who you are or who you should be but work with you to help you explore this for yourself.
Written by Dr. Olivia Thrift – registered Counselling Psychologist and founder of The Psychology Company.