Same DNA, new place, different day
A person will come into therapy to work on a problem and we'll do that, work on the problem, something current, maybe something as simple as expressing true feelings, being congruent with people, honest about oneself. When a person is hurting, it can be hard to share that feeling, pain, even with close friends.
You think, "Well, people like me the way I am, the way I seem to them, which is happy. Why change that?"
And yet it's hard keeping up a face, always being the cheerleader, always making people laugh, smiling lest you cry. Cup always half full. Sometimes you just want to break the thing.
So we'll work on it, trusting others with those raw emotions. The fear dissolves, the problem resolves, the behavior changes, the personality gets softer. It's easy, once you get into it, to share sadness with others.
Case closed? Hardly. A therapist might say, "This is the place, dear. This is the time, the opportunity. We can go back to any of it, any of your history, or all of it, and rethink, rework it. Everyone has more than one thread that bothers them about the past. USE your therapy. You're here. Take advantage."
And no question, in those moments, in that 45-minute hour, we go back to something painful, something real and unresolved, and we turn it on its head.
For another example, maybe a better example of reminiscing, you only have to talk to someone who has given up an addiction. Watch as those eyes get wide and shift upward and to the right as thoughts loop back on the days of dependency and abuse.
Your friend will say, "What was I thinking? Can you believe it? That was ME. So different now."
See my post on that at The Second Road for a recovery story. I guest post over there sometimes when I remember what I'm really supposed to be doing here on the Internet.