If you've never been in therapy, I have to tell you it is a very bizarre experience. Not because it is painful (which it can be) or because it is embarassing (it can also be that) or that it is uncomfortable (I tend to think this is a given). The thing that makes it incredibly strange is walking in to a room, having a relative stranger hold up a mirror to you and seeing things that you, a relatively intelligent, thinking person can't see when you yourself pick up the mirror.
For me it's gone something like:
Very Astute Therapist: So Eileen, do you see this here?
Ei: Well, yes, I guess, I do...
VAT: You see what this is don't you?
Ei: Uhm, I guess it's a wall of some sort...
VAT: It's a brick wall, Eileen.
Ei: Oh, yeah...ok...I can see that...yes, that makes sense.
VAT: Eileen, honey, you need to stop smashing your head against it...that's not real healthy.
Ei: Oh...Oh...is that why there is blood running down my forehead?
VAT: There's a box of tissues right there on the table, would you like a glass of water?
Yeah, it's something like that. And suddenly you are out in the sunshine and fresh air and you are seeing brick walls all over the place. And you suddenly start remembering old, old brick walls on which you've knocked yourself unconscious. And you feel pretty foolish. But you also feel pretty damn good, because you know you can stop the madness. And you have a weird desire to walk up to total strangers and say, "Hey, did you know this is a brick wall?"
Well, it's not that simple of course, but I can recognize the type of brick wall that I'm probably most likely to mistake for a feather pillow now. Now I just have to work on letting go a particularly difficult brick wall. But it sure helps to know what it is.