November 22nd, 2015 by Dr. Nina Asher

And yet, people enter therapy with the idea that they can fix their problems, or at the very least, make them go away. They have an entrenched notion that if only they try hard enough, or find the right therapist with the “perfect” instructions on what to do differently, all their problems will conveniently disappear forever.

I like to think of “problems” as doorways to growth. The word problem connotes bad, wrong, needing fixing, something which elicits shame and blame. Everyone has problems. No one is immune to them. So to acknowledge a problem with openness is a different way to think about the things that get in our way. Problems are there to help us see ourselves more clearly; they help us reach out to touch the edge of clarity.

In therapy, we don’t sit down to solve a problem, but rather, we engage in a relationship that allows us to see that the “problem” exists because at one point it helped us adapt or exist in the best way we could. As the therapy couple walks through this together, the problem begins to unstick itself, dissipate, and afford us the space to try out new ways of being.