Right at the corner from our NYC therapy office, in Tribeca on Church and Reade Streets, this image caught my eye. Stuck on a stoplight amongst graffiti and stickers, “SUPPORT THERAPY AND INSTABILITY”, shouted at me from where I stood on the sidewalk. My first reaction was to roll my eyes and interpret it as a dig at therapy. The phrase seemed to infer that therapy perpetuates dependency and and does not give a therapy patient tools for long term growth. That if you support therapy, you are supporting people to be unstable. The word “instability” in particular does not conjure up many positive images. Yet as I continued south on Church towards my therapy office, I began to think of other potential meanings of this sticker.
Growth is destabilizing. Changing patterns, behaviors, and perspectives that have been a part of your mind and body for years and even decades is destabilizing. Trying new things is destabilizing, as is going outside your comfort zone. Discovering what you want and going after it is scary. I support therapy and instability because you can’t have one with out the other. Good therapy must have good instability in order for growth to take place. And a good therapist will work to steady and support you as you move through the process.