The start of the relationship feels like a meeting of kindred spirits. The other person ticks many of the boxes that had been left unticked in the past. They “get” us. They share our values. They care. They understand our quirks. They even have similar quirks. We feel like best friends and lovers. They are interested in us as and not just as a sex object. But the sex is intense. A dream gets ignited. A hope of a happy future with this person is born.
Some clients arrive for their first therapy session skeptical, worried, or downright reluctant to talk about their childhoods.
I assure them I have no interest in getting them to do something they don’t want. Nevertheless, if they are willing, then I am curious—exploring their childhoods helps me to understand their concerns more fully.
A common thread that runs through a lot of the issues my clients bring is validation. By validation I mean the process of being confirmed as ‘ok’, ‘acceptable’ or ‘good enough’. For many individuals this sense of being ‘ok’ is derived from others or how we imagine others think of us. We need others to consider us interesting in order for us to feel interesting. We need others to think that we are beautiful in order to feel beautiful. We need others to think that we are intelligent in order to feel intelligent. We need others to give us permission to feel ok before we give ourselves permission to feel ok.