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Valley Depths, Mountain Heights and the Journey in Between

The image of going through the pain of the valley before we can reach the high of the mountain tops is a well known cliche. However, there may be more here that can be unpacked with regards to counselling and psychotherapy.

The valley bottom can definitely be a confusing place and maybe where you are starting your journey from. On the other hand it can be a place of great beauty - lush green meadows by running water, for example, or perhaps woodlands full of birdsong. If this is the case, that quest for the mountain top may be for a specific reason heading towards growth and self-development. We don't always need to be in the depths of despair to want to reach for a higher place in our lives - but we still may like someone to walk alongside us on the way.

If the valley bottom is dark and foreboding like a bleak, deep sided valley in an area of moorland, the way upwards could be a search for relief from the darkness and depression.

Whichever is the case, it is worth noting that engaging with the counselling process can sometimes be unsettling and even pretty disturbing to begin with. Like walking up a mountain side and realising that maybe you're not quite as fit as you thought you were. This doesn't mean that your problems are getting worse, but that you are putting the emotional effort in to looking at areas of your life that maybe you haven't visited for some time. You may even be unfamiliar with some of the things that start to surface. Plenty of patience and self-compassion will help aid your progress forward as you walk towards your healing and resolutions.

It can also be useful before you start, to weigh up whether you feel ready for the climb - or at the moment is it just a bit too difficult to face. You will know within yourself which is the case. If you feel ready for the slog, then don't forget that there will also be plenty of places to pause, to stop, look back at the view and see how far you have come.

Sometimes, reaching the mountain top may not be all it's made out to be. There can be clouds and mist obscuring the view. At times, that might be all you can see. In this case it is worth waiting until things settle around you and within you, allowing the mist to lift and the view to become clear. This can be such a rewarding experience. The hard work of putting one foot in front of the other on the up hill journey is well worth the effort - especially when you see life-changing results.


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