The Colors of Therapy (A Narrative Poem)

Updated on July 20, 2017
The therapy room.
The therapy room. | Source

Introduction to the Colors of Therapy

I practiced mental health therapy for twenty-five years. During the span of my career, I noticed a few similarities in the therapy process that I hope to convey in this poem. In general, therapy isn’t easy for the client, but it’s a heckuva lot better than suffering without anybody’s help.

Therapy brought up many feelings and directional shifts for those clients that I worked with. Initially, the clients might have experienced fear toward the therapeutic process, but it was my experience that if the therapy room was a safe place and if the client trusted me, then the client would hang in for the long haul. The successful client reaped many benefits like freedom from the past and a more emotionally savvy way of dealing with the present.

My experience as a therapist includes many clients who transformed. In this poem, I attempt to generalize just what that experience of transformation feels like and what emotional shifts take place during the course of our work together. The poem is structured from the client’s point of view—from the initial call to schedule an appointment to the final session.

Hopefully, this poem will help to demystify the therapy process and influence the reader to be more open to trying therapy, should the need arise.

The Colors of Therapy


Sitting in the waiting room at 6 p.m.,

I’m already starting to feel hopeful.

Although my chest still feels tight.

My world still fragile, closing in.


I walk into your office wide-eyed with fear

of what we will find when we explore,

my self-defeating tendencies, my secrets—

hurtful people and events I can’t ignore.


You gently guide me through the maze,

the winding corridors, twisting, turning

inward to those frozen memories

that you call denial and repression.


You say it will take time, move slow.

You assure me that one day it will be okay.

You let me trust you, grasp your hand,

brace myself for the fall.


As we chip away

on all those bleak winter evenings,

I start out with nothing but a sigh

and end up with so much pain.


We unravel the trauma from a spool

like frayed threads unable to find the needle’s eye.

You teach me it’s okay to stumble.

You tell me, “How ever long it takes.”


You help me to find my strength,

new ways to get through each day.

You say I have it within me to heal,

past the messy parts, instilling hope in fear.


What you say feels honest and true.

I move from the dark colors of my past.

The blacks and blues to peaceful pastels,

and finally to colors of bright, sunny hues.


When the details of my self-portrait are done,

I give you a hug and a few tears.

You promise you will always be close by,

a phone call, an appointment away.

The Colors of Therapy (A Video Poem)

Questions & Answers

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      • Mark Tulin profile imageAUTHOR

        Mark Tulin 

        7 months ago from Santa Barbara, California

        Hari, thanks for reading.

      • shprd74 profile image

        Hari Prasad S 

        7 months ago from Bangalore

        Nicely written by a doctor who understands his clients therapy pangs. Excellent poem mark.

        - hari

      • Mark Tulin profile imageAUTHOR

        Mark Tulin 

        11 months ago from Santa Barbara, California

        Thanks for the complement, Audrey.

      • AudreyHowitt profile image

        Audrey Howitt 

        11 months ago from California

        Beautifully done--I find this form difficult to work with, but you make it look so easy

      • Mark Tulin profile imageAUTHOR

        Mark Tulin 

        12 months ago from Santa Barbara, California

        Thanks Tim. It was interesting to look back on that career and to write a poem about it. Unfortunately not all clients had the same positive trajectory.

      • tsmog profile image

        Tim Mitchell 

        12 months ago from Escondido, CA

        Nice! Nice is a word I choose to use when kinda' speechless and is meant as complimentary. Familiar with therapy I can easily relate to the overall process shared by this poem.

      • Mark Tulin profile imageAUTHOR

        Mark Tulin 

        12 months ago from Santa Barbara, California

        Thanks for reading, John.

      • Jodah profile image

        John Hansen 

        12 months ago from Queensland Australia

        I enjoyed this poem from a client's point of view, Mark. The video too. Thank you for sharing.

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