As a psychotherapist serving Halifax and Dartmouth, people come to me in pain. Depression and anxiety can be so consuming that clients lose sight of themselves. The darkness, shame and hurts that people experience can cut people off from each other. These feelings can even cut people off from knowing themselves.
In 1986 Cyndi Lauper beautifully captured what it is like to see someone close to her suffering with depression. In True Colors, she has created a wonderful testimonial to the power of friendship:
You with the sad eyes
Don’t be discouraged
Oh I realize
Its hard to take courage
In a world full of people
You can lose sight of it all
And the darkness inside you
Can make you feel so smallBut I see your true colors
I see your true colors
And that’s why I love you
So don’t be afraid to let them show
Your true colors
True colors are beautiful
Like a rainbow
Friends can help make a place for your true colours to shine through. In fact, many people never see a therapist when they encounter difficult times. For some talking to a good friend can be enough. But is it always?
Friends tend to bring the shit of their own experiences the table. They will want to see your ‘true colors shining through’. The shadowy, uncomfortable parts of yourself? Well, if they haven’t done a lot of personal work, friends sometimes don’t have the ability to hold space for you to be uncomfortable.
Your true colors can come shining through. And, at the same time, your shit still stinks. My office is a safe container to explore these less pleasant parts of your humanity.
A therapist with ongoing supervision and support is constantly, professionally working on increasing their awareness of this and is, therefore, less likely to impose their own values, pain, and experience on a client unawares. And I say less likely for a reason. No therapist can be truly ‘objective’. We all have limits to our awareness. Good therapists acknowledge their limits.
People tend to have ongoing connections and obligations to their friends
As a therapist, it’s less complicated. We schedule time. I honor my commitments to you. You pay for my services. You leave. You can end your relationship with me at any time. No explanation necessary.
So, let your true colors shine through. And understand that therapists are there for the stuff that your friends don’t have the skill to deal with.
Finally: Dig this video! Cyndi Lauper was a fantastic artist! I love her hand drumming!
And before I go, a bit more Cyndi Lauper pleasure. Not on the charts that week, She Bop is a personal fav of mine: