When I was in grad school I participated as a volunteer leader in an urban program in Chicago for college students during spring break. It was an immersive experience for most of the students, especially those who were white. We were in a neighborhood that was 98% African American and for many students, having to notice their own skin for the first time as they walked down the street was an experience in and of itself that pushed them to learn and grow.
The leader of the program talked about how the experiences themselves were not where the true growth happened. Growth and insight happen in the debrief of those experiences. It is incredibly important to process through experiences correctly for us to come to appropriate and healthy conclusions. A lot of the time, we need guidance in how to go about doing that well.
I’ve noticed that in my own life, in the various experiences that I have, I need to process them outside of the experiences themselves. Hence some of the recent life-changes I’ve made for myself. I try to set up an environment for myself that allows my thoughts and insights to incubate until I can gather them together to learn from, to gain wisdom for my own life.
For therapy, I highly doubt my therapist is going to have some sort of incredibly insightful suggestion or strategy for my life that I find life-changing. It’s going to be the process of debriefing with her that is going to impact my life. There’s a two week incubation period in-between sessions in which I will allow thoughts and insights to grow.