Friday, April 25, 2014

"How Long Will It Take?"

(an encore post by Cecil Murphey)

An old joke says a man went to a therapist, and after being diagnosed, the new patient asked, "How long will it take?"

"Come in once a week and it will probably take about a year."

"But if I come in twice a week, can I do it in six months?"

The joke is that it's not the number of times in the therapist's office, but the inner work the man does for himself. And the issues of life can't be rushed.

After I publicly stated that healing is a process, one man came to me and said, "That was exactly what I needed to hear. I kept asking my therapist how long it would take, and he avoided giving me an answer. Now I understand."

It's not the length of time in therapy, as a member of a support group, or doing individual work. It's the quality—the extent—of grasping and internalizing the insight.

Twenty years ago, when I first began to work on my own abuse, I was part of a small group. "John" had been in therapy for 15 years before we met. I moved away after four years. And many of the things John said in our final meeting were almost the same words he had spoken four years earlier.

It's not the length of time, but the quality of the work that counts.

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