A friend of mine recently started going to a therapist, and he’s puzzled as to why the therapist keeps making him rehash the week. Here’s my theory.
He’s asking a lot of redundant questions to dig up patterns. They seem like stupid, recycled questions. But when you have to answer the same, stupid questions over and over again, no matter how infuriating that is, something important happens. The stuff that’s really haunting you comes out.
You don’t even realize it’s happening. But it does.
One of my favorite TV series, The West Wing, captured this quite nicely in the episode where Deputy Chief of Staff Josh Lyman undergoes a long, brutal therapy session:
Josh didn’t want to answer Dr. Keyworth’s question about how he cut his hand, but the doctor kept dragging him through it until the truth came out.
That’s a dramatic example. But it makes an important point:
When we’re troubled, we keep things buried deep within ourselves.
And it takes what seem like the dumbest, most repetitive questions over and over again to get the real pain to the surface.
Those stupid questions will last for years. Get used to it.
And be patient, my friend.
You can’t see it now, but it gets better.