It’s been a year since I took my first therapy session.

I was in a really bad place – brought down to my knees by life. It felt like I had hit a dead end. I felt like a complete failure, a loser. No matter how hard I tried I couldn’t find hope. I saw only impending pain, suffering and constant struggle in future.

Finally I gave in and decided to seek help. I discussed what I was going through with some close friends whom I trusted.

I didn’t really believe therapy would help. But then I did some research and gradually gave in to giving it a try.

The first session – quite ordinary, nothing magical or miraculous. Which I did hope and wish for. I wanted some magical transformation. Instead, it was quite ordinary, simple and yet, effective.

Out of all the things I tried before, therapy seemed to be the most helpful. Probably because it was grounded in reality that patience was required – that no magic or miracle was going to happen.

I showed up the next week. Another ordinary experience. No big insights. Maybe a small shift or not even that. Then I showed up another week. And then another. It was hard, a lot of effort. No major changes. Nevertheless, I knew it was working.

Eight sessions and two months later, I saw some changes. I took a break from therapy. To see if the insights and experience I received worked in the real world. They did. Then I took some more sessions. Things started getting significantly better. Finally, I started feeling more and more ‘okay.’

I don’t remember most of what was done during therapy – the techniques, processes, activities, etc. – the content of the sessions. However, I do remember very well how I felt during those sessions. In one session I remember telling the therapist that during the one hour of therapy, I felt okay.

This is what I would say how therapy works. They say it’s the relationship that heals. I, fortunately, have experienced this. During that one hour, I could be myself – feel what I was feeling and say what I was thinking, and still be received with acceptance and positive regard. For the first time in life I could completely be myself in the presence of another human being.

In those few sessions, I got that experience over and over again. And in that I learnt to give myself permission to be who I am more and more. I started being more authentic in my other relationships – with others, with events and with the world.

In that I found liberation from the pain and hopelessness.