I'm a huge fan of therapy (if you haven't done it yet, you really need to try it!). Thus far, here's my most succinct explanation of it (and its benefits).
Therapy is a 2-part process: 1) To understand your most important moments from childhood and then 2) "Decouple" yourself from them.
Understanding the Most Important Moments From Childhood (Formative Life Moments)
In order to understand your most important moments, you need to find them. You can think of your childhood as a timeline, like this visualization from Wait But Why:
Of all of those ~1000 weeks, which ones were the most important? Therapy helps you find them. You discuss your past, your trauma, your emotions, etc. And then your therapist stops you and says "hmmm, could you say more about that 2nd memory—it sounds like it may have been formative." After doing this a bunch, your past goes from this:
Decoupling Yourself From Childhood
Once you've found these moments, you can begin to understand them and eventually "decouple" / "abstract" yourself away from them. To be honest, I'm less clear about how this works, but I think there are two key processes here:
- Beginning to see "what you were taught" as an actual object rather than as something intrinsically part of yourself. (i.e. Going from Kegan Stage 3 to Stage 4.)
- Examining your superpower/shadow dynamics to counteract the "bad" side of your Better is Worse dynamics.
With your newly textured understanding of childhood socialization and your superpower/shadow dynamics, you can then make choices to benefit your long-term health (with more assurance that you actually want those future things).
tl;dr—Go to therapy people!
Also, I'm curious—are there better explanations of therapy that you like?
Vote for future articles here!