“Quiet the mind and the soul will speak.” – Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati

We all want to be seen and heard. Sometimes, we just need one person to listen to our story.

Frequently, this is the case with counseling. I’ve found that the vast majority of my role as a therapist is to simply sit with people and be with them, wherever they’re at in their heads and hearts. To some, this may seem counterintuitive, perhaps even in stark contrast to their own perception of what therapy is and isn’t. However, these seconds of silence, these muted moments can act as a co-therapist (of sorts) by pushing clients to share what’s going on with them – the springboard for the therapeutic process.

When clients talk about what’s going on in their lives – struggles, traumas, victories, celebrations, etc. – I’ll often repeat back to them what they’ve just said so they can hear themselves. The time between sessions allows clients to reflect and think about what was covered during those 60 minutes. In subsequent sessions, clients often report something like, “Talking with you is really helping. I’m looking more at myself and doing my own work regardless of what my partner is doing.”

As humans, we can be exceptionally private about ourselves and our lives. Depending on the individual, this self-seclusion could take a detrimental turn for their overall mental and emotional health, leaving them feeling alone, targeted, and/or hopeless. The key to being set free from these shackles is getting things out in the open with a trusted confidant, namely a therapist. By exploring what holds them back, what keeps them there, and where they believe they need to go, the issue begins loosening its grip on the psyche. Over time, and with a wholehearted commitment to the therapeutic process, clients learn how challenging life events don’t define them, but rather, become part of their story.

TAKE-AWAY: It takes being quiet and reflective to see where we need to go. For each day next week, allot yourself five minutes to sit in silence and see what comes up. The results could be nothing at all or an extremely significant insight – both of which are perfectly fine. The goal here is to practice sitting quietly and with the intention of simply being in the moment. You might surprise yourself!