There is a story about a snake in the road that serves as a very good analogy of the therapeutic process, especially when working with relationship patterns. Before you begin therapy, you are walking down a road. You encounter a snake and pick it up. You explore it and handle it. While doing so, it bites you. After you begin therapy, you walk down the same road again. This time you see the snake, you nudge it with your toe and interact with it, but you don't pick it up. You've now learned that it will bite you. After therapy is completed, you walk down the road again and see the same snake. This time you walk to the other side of the road and avoid it all together. What does this mean?
In life and in relationships, people often repeat the same patterns over and over again. They keep worrying around the same snake that bit them years and years ago. They kick at it, interact with it, poke it with a stick, but they are unable to walk away from it. After completing therapy, you understand the snake, the bite, the interaction. You no longer have to continue to worry with it trying to figure it out. You are now free to steer clear of it and move on down the road.