“Are We Nearly There Yet?”....This question is instantly recognisable the world over, either because we remember chanting it as a child, or have endured it as adults confined in a small space with any number of equally small children ...or both!

Essentially, it expresses that eager anticipation of reaching our destination.

So, how do we know when we really are there?

When I was small, I had a game with my dad in the car about who was the first to see the sea.  That absolutely told me we really were nearly there!

In therapy, as a client, I have expressed that with sighs and tears as I struggled with some big issues for myself.  Surely, I’ve come to the end of this?  Surely, I have done all the work I need to?  And then, I found there was another layer.

In therapy, as a therapist, I have wondered that both to myself and out loud with clients whose process has been significant.

As a therapist, and as a client, I’ve sat with the tears and screams of feeling stuck in a process of really not going anywhere.

Just as with my childhood car journeys to the sea, the journey takes as long as it takes.  There’s a route, landmarks along the way, and set numbers of miles between those landmarks.

The car, train, bus, plane keeps us safe on that journey to the destination.  The therapeutic space and relationship keeps us safe on the emotional journey.

With time-limited sessions, the physical journey may end whilst the emotional journey continues for the client.  With more open-ended therapy, the experience can be a meaningful in-depth process or an endless slog.

My childhood journeys to the sea ended when the car stopped outside our holiday cottage.  But the experience of the destination continued well beyond that physical journey.

So how will you know when you are there?