July 2, 2024

Tiny Plant or Big Plant?

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What Makes Therapy Intensives So Helpful and How to Decide if They are Right for You

When I was just entering the 9th grade, my mother and I moved into a new to us house. The house had been built in the late 1920’s or early 1930’s and was looking its age. The couple who owned it prior to our arrival had other priorities rather than the landscaping and gardening. Well, to be honest, there wasn’t really any garden. My mother, an avid gardener, almost immediately planted daffodil bulbs which started their life in her own mother’s garden. When spring arrived, boxes of very tiny perennials arrived. I do mean tiny. Some of them were smaller than my palm. 

Over the next several years my mother dragged hoses to water, watching over these tiny plants as they grew bigger and bigger. By the time we sold the house, after nearly 40 years there, the tiny plantings had grown up, been divided and those divisions were divided again. I thought was how it went; you got tiny plants, worked hard, waited a long time and finally they would be big plants. Lovely, recognizable plants. But here’s what I’ve since learned; my mother had a choice of either spending money or spending time to get where she wanted to go with her garden. Since money was in short supply, she opted for time.

This is a good visual for how Therapy Intensives work, in case you were wondering where this was all going. We all have a choice between spending time or spending money to get where we want to go. Hire a team of 10 to do your renovation work (expensive but faster) or hire one person to do the same work (less expensive but more time consuming.) Got the idea? 

What Are Intensives Best For?

Intensives offer a different type of experience than more traditional weekly or every other week appointments with a therapist; it is a more condensed version designed specifically to help you get where you want to go much more quickly. It is not, to be clear, for everyone nor every situation. If you’re still struggling to stop drinking and stay stopped, weekly or twice weekly is much more appropriate. Depression which has set in so hard that dried out brown sugar in the back of your pantry looks soft in comparison, is also not tackled effectively with Intensives. 

What types of conditions favor Intensives? When you’re seeking to formulate a real, actionable plan for life now that the nest is empty. When you’re starting to notice your entire routine is based on work…and that work is coming to its natural ending. Or heck, when it came to its end and now you’re wondering if all you’re ever going to do is hear about volunteering and watching bad daytime TV. Perhaps your marriage needs attention right now, not tomorrow. And, if you’re super lucky, you’ve noticed that in planning a wedding, you’ve not thought about how to make the marriage part even work. 

Bottomline? Intensives are for those who seek to invest financial resources to see results more quickly. Investing the time is lovely, if you’ve got it or if your style is to have more consistent support. As one of my weekly clients puts it, “this is part of what’s gotten me this far, I’m not giving that up just yet.” 

There’s Always a ‘Catch’

Here’s the ‘catch’ if you will; you’ve still got to do the work. The responsibility to think through what’s going on, the role you play in the patterns which unfold in your life, the ways you’ll strive to do it differently, remain 100% on you. If you choose to purchase a lovely, huge new tree but then fail to plant it correctly and water it regularly, it will die and that will be through no fault of the grower. If you opt for an Intensive, please be ready to do the follow up because once you’ve made the investment, why would you blow it up?

Are Intensives right for you? You’ll have to decide that, won’t you? Here’s what I do know; I now purchase plants that are bigger to start with so that I have more time to enjoy my garden and spend less time tending to tiny baby plants. The daffodils you see above? Those are from my grandmother’s garden, a great example of allowing time for the work.

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