Do you remember Shel Silverstein’s poetry for children? I remember reading his poems as a child and loved his animated and goofy style of writing… I still do! I wanted to share a poem of Shel Silverstein’s that was presented at a conference earlier this year (Yes! Shel Silverstein was used at a therapy conference!!). The poem is titled “Help!”, and it really got me thinking!
I walked through the wildwood, and what did I see
But a unicorn with his horn stuck in a tree,
Cryin’, “Someone please help me before it‘s too late.”
I hollered, “I’ll free you.” He hollered back, “Wait–
How much will it hurt? How long will it take?
Are you sure that my horn will not scratch, bend, or break?
How hard will you pull? How much must I pay?
Must you do it right now or is Wednesday okay?
Have you done this before? Do you have the right tools?
Have you graduated from horn-savin’ school?
Will I owe you a favor? And what will it be?
Do you promise that you will not damage the tree?
Should I close my eyes? Should I sit down or stand?
Do you have insurance? Have you washed your hands?
And after you free me–tell me what then?
Can you guarantee I won’t get stuck again?
Tell me when. Tell me how.
Tell me why. Tell me where….”
I guess that he’s still sittin’ there.
This poem has such significance in our day to day lives and the process of therapy. Most of us, at one point or another, have been in a lot of discomfort or have been struggling with wanting something different in our lives. The problem is, as human beings, we often want things to get better, but don’t want to go through the pain (or uncomfortable feelings) to make changes or allow someone to help us through the process. It’s difficult sometimes to trust ourselves to make changes and venture in to the unknown (even though the “known” is uncomfortable!), and it’s difficult to trust other’s to help us with those changes. I can’t count how many times I’ve wished there was a magic fix for something I was going through that was scary and difficult. Ironically, those are the times I look back on and learned the most from NOT having a magic fix for– going through the experience taught me a lesson about life and was part of my growth as a person. Change can be so difficult! Most of the time, though, there is no other way around it. As we say in counseling… there’s no way around it, only going through it! Is your horn stuck in a tree? If so, are you still sitting there, or are you embracing your fear and getting un-stuck?
Joleen Watson, MS, NCC, is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. She enjoys doing marriage counseling, relationship counseling, couples counseling, and individual counseling. Imagine Hope also specializes in family, child and adolescent counseling and serves Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield, and Fishers.