In my first blog post here I thought it would be fitting to start right at the beginning and explain the meaning behind the name of my psychology practice: Thea.
When thinking about how to name the service there were a few important things which I wanted to cover. Firstly, I wanted a name that speaks to the values upon which the service is based: support and empowerment of women. Secondly, I wanted to communicate something about the nature of the therapy that I offer. Thirdly, I wanted a service name that could reference the very women who use it.
It was clear to me that the service was going to have to be named after a goddess. What else could do justice to the amazing women who I’m fortunate enough to work with?! After much deliberation I decided firmly upon the name Thea (with Theia being a variant of this name). Thea, ‘wide-shining’, Greek goddess of sight and vision, mother to the Sun (Helios), the Moon (Selene), and the Dawn (Eos). Thea, goddess who gave gold, silver and gems their shine and brilliance and endowed them with their intrinsic value.
Thea as a Symbol for Therapy: Sight and Vision
To me, therapy is based above all else on a widening of vision. A process of seeing things that were previously cast in shadow or out of sight. We can never see or know everything about ourselves, of course, but through the bold adventure of therapy we can see more - sometimes much more - than we could before. We can see ourselves more fully and understand ourselves in more complex ways. We can start to understand how the paths we’ve already walked down have led us to the places we find ourselves in now.
As we see and understand more about ourselves, we then become increasingly able to catch view of other possible paths ahead of us. Paths which we’ve perhaps not known were there or that have felt too foreign or unreachable to get to. By learning about ourselves, we become more able to handle and do things differently - and that opens up more roads to us. It is this illumination of different potential paths that then allows us to choose which road we take next, rather than finding ourselves wandering blindly in a particular direction with little say in the matter and no map.
At this point people may well ask: but won’t there still be difficulties and unexpected problems, even when we get to choose our paths more? My answer would be yes. There most definitely will. There’ll still be bumps of all sizes in the road, long stretches of uphill, treacherous cliffs and blind bends. But - with increased sight - when bumps do come along chances are you’ll spot them coming a bit faster - and even avoid some of them altogether. And when you stumble or outright fall along the way - which we all will - you’ll feel more able to dust yourself off and get back up again, ready for the next stretch.
Thea as a Symbol for Therapy: Mother to the Sun, the Moon, and the Dawn.
Thea was not just mother to the Sun - she was also mother to the Moon and the Dawn. And so we too don’t just get to experience the sunshine. Life invariably also shows us the dark of night, home of the moon. And sometimes it’s not just dark but pitch black and freezing cold and we can’t see anything but the night. But no matter what, dawn will always come and the night always ends, giving way again to the light of day.
People often come to therapy in times of shadow and darkness and it is a place where we can make sense of the night - and even find more peace in it. Making sense of your difficulties and most challenging feelings gives you confidence that it’s okay to have difficulties and challenging feelings. That it’s okay to feel pain when we’ve been hurt; to feel grief when we’ve lost someone; to feel anxiety when we are faced with something important to us; to feel lost when we’re surrounded by change. We can learn to feel what we feel with less of a struggle. When we realise that we are supposed to experience the night, even though we may not like all our feelings, we can learn not to be afraid of them or to believe that there’s something wrong with us for feeling them. This openness to feeling can transform the relationship that we have with our emotions: they can become known and tolerated companions down the road with us (even when we don’t like them). Then, instead of spending our energy trying to control or battle the inevitable feelings that come up along the way, we are freed up to focus on the paths ahead instead.
Thea as a Symbol for Therapy: Endower of Value
When we have more sight, choice in our paths, liberated energy and less internal battles with ourselves, we are then in the most wonderful position to look to the future and decide for ourselves which direction we want to head in. To do that, we can look to our internal compasses to guide us: our values. When at a crossroad with hundreds of signs pointing in different directions (this way to adventure!, fun and humour over here!, compassion this way!, commitment straight ahead!) we get to choose what truly matters to us deep in our hearts.
It is likely that identifying your own unique set of values will be part of the therapeutic work. Most of us don’t go into therapy holding a really clear idea of who we want to be in our lifetime or what the really important things that we want to aim for are. It is something that can be explored and discovered along the way. Then, as it becomes clearer to us exactly who and what it is that matters to us, we get to choose where we place our resources and our intentions. We get to choose what we endow with brilliance and value. Just as Thea gave value to metals and stones, we too can place value in the things that matter to us - to friendship, courage, love, connection, being present with our children, kindness, justice, assertiveness, responsibility, authenticity… the scope of possibilities is near limitless. Even in times of darkness, we can still find direction and purpose when we’re connected in with our values, because they are the things that, no matter what, really matter to us.
Increased understanding of ourselves and more choices in front of us. Openness to our emotions and less internal struggles. Connection with the ‘big-picture’ things that matter deeply to us. These therapeutic achievements all give rise to an undeniable feeling of personal empowerment. It can start, to borrow the words from a client, with the sense of a small bud forming inside. This bud grows over the course of therapy into a sturdy, thriving flower of confidence, full of self-knowledge, choice, openness, and deep meaning. This is what the therapy journey is to me, and what lies at the heart of what is offered at Thea Psychology. If this sounds of value to you, I’m waiting to hear from you.