I am no stranger to therapy. I’ve been in therapy on and off since I was eighteen. My therapists have been a series of incredible, skilled women. First, there was the young, compassionate, funny, engaging redhead who skillfully navigated me through long-delayed grief over my father’s death. Then, the incomparably empathetic, wise, and tender older woman who helped me say out loud for the first time that I did not want, or invite the trauma I was carrying from my 20’s. And my current therapist, a fierce, badass, incisive, profoundly caring, authentic, and deeply curious woman who has saved my life countless times in the last three years (particularly 2020). I could write an individual love letter to them all.
Dear ones, you have carried us through 2020. You helped us pick up the things we were avoiding, and set down the things (sometimes tightly held things) that were not ours to hold. You gently extended your hands and said: “walk with me through this door. I promise. You are safe here. We can do this together.” You laughed and reassured our skeptical side eye that was actually true.
You embodied the flexibility and responsiveness that 2020 required of all of us in different ways. When the unexpected mess of this year created mental health crises, you sprung into action (sometimes from states away). You did not let gaps in visits, or time apart deter you. With almost no warning you turned into video conferencing wizards, and telehealth platform experts. You did phone sessions with colleagues who couldn’t bear one more hour on Zoom. You lovingly embraced our cats, dogs, hamsters, horses, kiddos, and the many pieces of therapy that come from literally meeting people where they are.
In a year when it was often impossible to focus on anything other than what was right in front of us (and sometimes even that was impossible), you wove careful tapestries that connected themes of weeks, months, and years together with precision and mastery. You have been the epitome of non-judgmental listening about ALL of the things (yes, all of them). You have loved us exactly as we are, and too much to let us stay stuck in the ruts of destructive behavior, self-flagellation, and things that keep us from being whole. You were irritatingly persistent about how much more we deserved when many of us could not believe that.