What does it mean to trust the process?
People often ask me as they are sitting on the couch if “this is normal.” This being the angst within them as they work through the tough situations they have faced thus far in life. As we go deeper into their history and uncover things they’ve worked so hard to cover up, they want to know, “is it worth it?” Much to their chagrin, I smile kindly and encourage them with a ‘yes, we need to trust the process.’ It is something I’ve watched as being a therapist and something I truly believe in. However, I have also found that it’s always easier to cheer the running back on who is getting slammed, then to go down and get slammed yourself.
My husband and I have watched our sweet baby boy struggle in body for the last seven months. We have endured many sleepless nights, discontent temperament, and a rash on his skin that left him miserable. After many trials with traditional medicine, we had pretty much come to the conclusion that this was his lot for the next five years – that’s what we had been told. Unsatisfied with this answer, we went to one more specialist who told us it’s not severe eczema that he’s struggled with, it is food allergies. I then had to stop nursing for three weeks and change little man’s diet.
As I sat on the floor with him the other day asking God why does my son have to struggle, He gently whispered, trust the process. Trust the knowledge that you have prayed and searched for. Trust the path that is before you.
What is the purpose of counseling? To find healing for your heart. To give time, space, and validation to all that is within you. Your story matters. Your heart matters. To unfold and to allow the salve of the Holy Spirit to heal the wounds. To learn to trust. Sometimes we need just a bit more help. There is no way I would drill my own tooth for a filling or perform surgery on myself. I go to someone who knows.
A few things I’ve learned:
- My specialist knows more than I. I pride myself in knowing my kiddos inside and out. Their schedule, their likes and dislikes, their temperament, but this, this I know nothing about. It’s innate to question, it’s our desire to know. Sometimes, we need to trust those who know more
- The process is hard. This is one of the most difficult things I’ve walked through. Everything seems new and foreign, that’s because it is. But it’s not impossible.
- Quitting seems easier. Sometimes clients will end their therapy prematurely – usually when it gets hard. No progress is ever made by stopping when it gets tough. An athlete would never finish the race. A writer would never finish a book. There were numerous times I just wanted to hold my son close and nurse him, but that would have hindered his forward progress. Quitting only satisfies the short term.
- Some days are better than others. As we ‘detoxed’ my son from foods he was allergic to, we had some great days and we had some not so great days. So it is with therapy. Some weeks are more challenging than others. That is part of the process.
It’s not all bad:
- Times of joy are more frequent. As you work through the counseling process, finding healing in your heart, the moments of joy you experience are greater and more often.
- Our bond is greater. As my son learns to trust me in a new way, our bond is strengthened. When we go through the counseling process, we learn to not only trust others, but to trust ourselves and God. Our bond with the Lord is strengthened and we rely on Him for the next steps.
- He is resilient. I’ve got one tough little guy, that is for sure. But that same resilience that he as, we all have. We are born with it. Somewhere, along the way, we’ve misplaced it. Walking through the counseling process can remind you of the resilience within you. We then take that resilience and apply it to other areas of our lives.
- God is faithful. There have been so many little details that have worked out not because of who I am, but because of who God is. And I have seen this play out in my clients’ lives. As they trust the process, God reveals Himself in a new way to them.
- The best is yet to come. I sat on day one wondering when this was going to be over. Over the next several days I began to see improvement on my little guy. It wasn’t a massive change at once, but little things I noticed. I had hope to make it through the next day. Hope that things will get better if I keep at this. Hope that where we are at now is not the best he’s going to feel. Knowing he has much better days ahead of him. And that makes me smile. I have hope for my clients. As they walk this journey, that they have the days that they hope for. Joyful days, fulfilled days, peaceful days. I have hope that their best days are ahead of them. And that makes me smile.
Rebecca Barratt is a licensed professional counselor in the Springfield, MO area. She ministers to individuals, couples, and families as a therapist at The Relationship Center. She enjoys “Seeing in people what they do not see in themselves and helping them reach their potential”. Her focus is helping those who struggle with anxiety and depression, grief, and trauma recovery. Rebecca is dually trained in theology and professional counseling. She obtained an undergraduate ministry degree with a focus on adolescents and a Master’s degree in professional counseling. In addition to her clinical practice she is an ordained minister and serves on the Ministerial Education and Guidance Board (MEG) for the Midwest District of the Free Methodist denomination. Teaching within the church since 1999, Rebecca has been in a pastoral role since 2004. She integrates her love and knowledge of God and His Word with experience interacting with various age groups.
Rebecca and her husband make their home in Southwest Missouri with their three children.