Welcome to this week’s In therapy post.
Today I want to talk about what therapy can do for you in more general terms.
These things might include learning to set boundaries, getting to know yourself a bit better or in a different light, and feeling better about your life.
Let’s look at a few of these changes that might happen – organically – while you work on your main reasons for consulting a therapist at this point in your life.
- Sharing your feelings and thoughts with someone impartial, non-judgemental and professional might help process whatever is going on in your life right now.
Your friends might mean well by offering advice and solutions that might work well for them, but that might not work quite the same for you.
A therapist will not tell you what or how to do things, rather they will help you come up with a solution that will work well for you, your personality, your relationships and your life in general.
A problem shared is a problem halved.
So the saying goes…but it’s true!
The relief I see in clients’ faces once they can disclose difficult feelings and thoughts they might have not been able to express to anyone else is amazing.
Knowing that someone else is there, understanding and listening without judgement is a great relief, and the start of working through the problem and healing.
Increased self-awareness and understanding yourself better
By talking through your current problems, and delving deeper into the issues of the past that might have contributed to your thoughts and feelings about your life now, you will be able to understand yourself better.
You will be able to learn why you react in certain ways and either change that or just be able to explain where your reaction is coming from.
You will know what makes you tick a bit better and learn how to keep yourself safe in situations that are out of your liking or comfort zone.
Knowing what stuff is or was yours in certain situations and what is others’ responsibility, will help you release those burdens you’ve carried that don’t even belong to you.
3. Learn to set clear boundaries to keep yourself safe and have your needs met
This links well with the last two sentences about knowing what makes you tick and separating what’s your responsibility from what isn’t.
Voicing what your needs are and ensuring they are met – without walking over others of course – is something that I find an important result of therapy.
We are taught to look after others, and that looking after ourselves is selfish. But how can we look after others if we don’t look after ourselves first?
Boundaries will help you be happier and more comfortable in saying “no” when you don’t want to do something – fancy a night in? say no to going out with no guilt. And if people try to guilt you, then it’s their problem not yours, right?
- Understand what is going on in your life, why you behave or think in certain ways – make sense of things
Sometimes we might think that we react a certain way “just because”, but there might be reasons why we get into relationships with certain people or why we say certain things or react in particular ways.
It might be because we learned this behaviour from our parents or other significant adult models in our lives. it might be because it was a useful reaction in the past that helped you get through a particular situation.
There are reasons to our behaviours, and therapy helps uncover what they might be. Some we might not get to the bottom of, but at least we will be aware that we do them.
- Healing past hurts by making sense of them
Psychoanalytic theory says that the unprocessed feelings and situations of the past will remain as if they happened to us recently, unless we process them.
Having a look back at our childhood traumas or hurts with what we know now, will help us process those feelings we might not have understood because we were too young or told to not worry or to “man up”.
Healing past hurts will free up space and energy to focus on the here-and-now and to heal present hurts and move forward in life.
Find and use your inner strengths and resources to cope with life better
We all have strengths and resources within us to help us cope and solve our problems.
We might just have them dormant due to either ourselves or others telling us that they are not good enough or that we shouldn’t use them.
Therapy – with me anyway – will include finding those inner resources and strengths and putting them into practice in the room and in real life.
- Compassion for others and more understanding of them
Therapy will allow us not only to understand ourselves better, but it will also help us understand others and give them the benefit or the doubt.
Thinking that someone is nasty to us because they have struggled in life might help us be more compassionate towards them – which doesn’t mean they won’t upset or anger us because of their behaviour! We can also practice our boundaries and keep them at a distance if we feel it’s better for us.
- Improve relationships
Knowing ourselves better will in turn help us voice our opinions, needs and preferences with those around us, and allow us to communicate better in general.
Better communication leads to better interactions and conflict resolution. This will also most likely be practiced in therapy as things arise throughout the sessions.
- Feel better
Last but not least: the main aim of therapy is to help people feel better in their own skin, in their relationships, in their jobs, in their world.
Have you got any more to add to this list?
What has been your experience of therapy? Which one of these has been impacted the most in your life?
Leave me a message below.
Until next week…