After a big burst of knitting last week, I counted the stitches and found I had one too many! Despite careful scrutiny I couldn’t see where I had made an extra stitch. I realised I could just knit two together and no one would know. However, I am not in a hurry to finish the project- I’ve still several lectures to watch!

I unravelled a couple of rows, carefully picked up the stitches again…still one too many. Becoming more confident in my ability to pick up stitches, I unravelled another 5 rows, then another…still one extra stitch. Finally I spotted the mistake…2 inches lower. Oh well, in for a penny, in for a pound! I finally unravelled all of the week’s knitting, corrected the mistake, and had a great sense of satisfaction!

Sometimes it is absolutely fine simply to fix a current problem without tracing back to where it began, and this is a way we might think about counselling. And sometimes the source of the difficulty is buried somewhere in history and may take some time to identify and “repair”, We could think of psychotherapy in that way. In either case it’s handy to have someone on board who is confident about picking up stitches! Sometimes no one else will know because on the outside everything looks much the same. But in ourselves we know about the change, because the energy consumed in compensating for the historical snag is freed up to allow us to thrive, and the “garment” fits us better.

Sometimes the effort of maintaining the patterns we have developed becomes too much and we can find ourselves “unravelling” and this is often what brings someone into therapy. And sometimes in therapy, as long standing patterns are explored and questioned, and as we experiment with alternatives, we can feel ourselves “unravel”. While this can feel disturbing, it is part of a natural healing process as you work with your therapist to pick up the stitches and knit up stronger, more flexible ways of being.