“The deep roots never doubt spring will come.”
― Marty Rubin
While working in the yard last weekend, I started to think about how yard work is very similar to the process of therapy. As I was raking out old leaves from the garden bed and trimming dead branches off of the bushes to reveal the new growth underneath; I found myself thinking about my clients and how they come in to therapy entangled with problems and issues that are limiting their growth and ability to thrive. The most amazing part of my job is assisting them in identifying the weeds, old leaves, and dead branches within their hearts, heads, and bodies – supporting them in clearing away or reviving them – and bringing to light the growth and life that exists within each person.
Spring is often thought of as a time of renewal. It is also a time when many people find themselves cleaning out the house, their closets, and their yards. Windows are opened to let in fresh air, sprinkler systems are turned on, grills are fired up, and people are outside enjoying the longer days and warm sunshine. Many people associate the short and cold days of winter with depression and feeling down. Yet depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems exist year around and sometimes, these problems can increase with the new season as you feel pressure to engage with the world and embrace spring like everyone else is – or seems to be.
The elements that lead to a thriving yard or garden – sunlight, oxygen, water, and healthy soil – can also be compared to the elements of the therapy process that help people thrive in life – warmth, support, empathy, and a safe space. They are also analogous with the components of self-care that we all need to give to ourselves and our bodies – love, air, food, and a secure environment – to name some of the essentials. During this time of spring cleaning, I encourage you to look within yourself and determine whether you are thriving. Just as you tend to your home, your garden, your family, your friends, your job, and your yard – what care can you give to yourself? Are there weeds, old leaves, or dead branches that you would like to examine and clear away to allow for new growth? If so, therapy is a non-judgmental and supportive space where you can do just that.
Spring Picture courtesy of Michal Marcol / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.