January 5, 2023

What’s the Most Helpful Thing a Therapist Has Ever Told You?

Okay, I have a confession…

I looooove and am so curious about my therapist, and although I know you’re not really supposed to, I’m always trying to ask questions to get to know more about her. Needless to say, she never takes the bait. One such example:

Me: “How was your Thanksgiving?”Her: “Fine, thank you.”Me, stretching: “What Thanksgiving foods do you like?”Her: “Ahh, you know, the classics.”Me:

Brooklyn Nine Jake Peralta GIFfrom Brooklyn Nine GIFs

But you can’t blame me for it because she’s a genius. During our sessions, she’s offered such thoughtful words of wisdom, I often feel like I’m hearing the answer to a riddle. One phrase she shared that has helped immensely?

BOTH THINGS CAN BE TRUE.

Right before she said this, I’d been describing a stressful parenting situation and kept interrupting myself to say, “But I really, really, really, really, really love my kids.” Finally, she said, “Joanna, it’s okay, you can find parenting overwhelming AND love your kids. Two things can be true.

Since then, the concept has proved true many times. When my stepfather died, I was relieved that he could finally rest AND heartbroken that he was gone. When we laughed at my mom’s house after his funeral, I remembered that we could simultaneously celebrate his life AND mourn his death. Whenever I’ve spent an evening or weekend alone, I’ve enjoyed the quiet AND missed the noise of my children. When I think back on new parenthood, I remember that you can desperately crave a few hours of sleep AND feel your heart explode with gratitude whenever you look at your baby.

Have you ever been to therapy? What’s something helpful a therapist has told you? So curious to hear these special nuggets.

This song also makes me laugh:

P.S. The Grand Canyon trick that has saved me a million times, five ways to be a better listener, and what are your core values?

(Photo by Alba Vitta/Stocksy.)

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