To those of us in mid-life, James Hollis has written several relevant and highly recommended books (see list below). This is from the back cover of his book "Creating a Life: Finding Your Individual Path" (2000)
Were therapists required by “truth in advertising” legislation to tell their reality, then virtually no one would enter therapy. The therapist would be obliged to say at least three things in return to the suffering supplicant:
First, you will have to deal with this core issue the rest of your life, and at best you will manage to win a few skirmishes in your long uncivil war with yourself. Decades from now you will be fighting on these familiar fronts, though the terrain may have shifted so much that you may have difficulty recognizing the same old, same old.
Second, you will be obliged to disassemble the many forces you have gathered to defend against your wound. At this late date it is your defenses, not your wound, that cause the problem and arrest your journey. But removing these defenses will oblige you to feel all the pain of that wound again.
And third, you will not be spared pain, vouchsafed wisdom or granted exemption from future suffering. In fact, genuine disclosure would require a therapist to reveal the shabby sham of managed care as a fraud, and make a much more modest claim for long-term depth therapy or analysis.
Yet, however modest that claim, it is, I believe, true. Therapy will not heal you, make your problems go away or make your life work out. It will, quite simply, make your life more interesting. You will come to more and more complex riddles wrapped within yourself and your relationships. This claim seems small potatoes to the anxious consumer world, but it is an immense gift, a stupendous contribution. Think of it: your own life might become more interesting to you!
Consciousness is the gift, and that is the best it gets.