Each of us has numerous layers of defended postures concealing our authentic self. The number is different for everyone. And so is how the layers present themselves, how they got there, and what they are protecting.
Sometimes, when a client peels back one of those layers and discovers that there is a whole world of their own vulnerability that they have been protecting, they will ask if I knew the whole time. If I realized what they were trying to hide and protect before they did.
And the answer is almost always the same: “Yes, I saw some of it, but I couldn’t know what the layer of defense was about for you until you peeled it back.”
For better or worse, psychic and psychological attributes are not like the physical body. In surgery, the surgeon knows where there is a layer of muscle, then fat, then this and that. (I’m not a surgeon!) In short, they know exactly what to expect as they cut into a body. Because — thank goodness — physical human anatomy generally has a predictable and definable structure.
Not so for the psychological layers we have covered ourselves with. Because we’re all unique. Our life circumstances are unique. And the internal psychological barriers we enclose ourselves with are as unique as a thumbprint — every single soul is different.
This means no one can know for sure how an individual person’s psychological layers came to be or what they mean for that person. Not without peeling them back one layer at a time, allowing us to see the next set of issues underneath the previous one.
My job as a therapist is to join you on your journey of unlayering and help you make sense of what you discover at each step along the path to reach your core, authentic self.