When I have been listened to and when I have been heard, I am able to re-perceive my world in a new way and to go on. It is astonishing how elements which seem insoluble become soluble when someone listens. -Carl Rogers, renowned psychologist & founder of person centered therapy
Are you struggling with whether or not to seek out a therapist? Or, are you wanting to do some self-exploration?
Therapy is beneficial in its ongoing ability to provide the foundations for self-affirming, life-enhancing, relationship-improving benefits. Therapy is also a rewarding investment in yourself. Here are some of the ways it can pay off:
1. Provides you with the opportunity to be seen and heard without judgment. Therapy offers you a scheduled time to connect with yourself, to attend to your own needs and gain a fresh perspective. The therapeutic relationship gives you an accepting environment in which to reflect on where you are in your life, to examine what is bothering you and to do the inner work that is needed to move you in the direction you want to go . Feelings, needs and heartfelt dreams you may be avoiding, silencing or pushing aside are given a safe space to emerge.
2. Gives you skills to manage painful emotions or overcome anxiety and depression. We feel alive, relaxed and vital when we are emotionally balanced. When off balance, we feel overwhelmed and out of control or depressed and rigid. Therapy may help you maintain your emotional equilibrium through the use of mindfulness techniques such as breathing meditation, the body scan or walking meditation. Through the therapeutic interaction, you learn to describe or name what you are experiencing inside. This helps with brain integration and also calms the mind and balances the emotions. As Daniel J. Siegel, M.D. says in his book, The Mindful Therapist, “Name it to tame it.” Lastly, therapy is an excellent place to examine your thinking and to change negative self-talk that leads to suffering.
3. Helps you get positive change on long term, deeply held issues that have kept you stuck. Through the use of body-mind approaches such as Focusing, Gestalt, and Mindfulness, you learn to bypass the mental analyzing and tap into the vast wisdom of your body (which includes the mind, but is even greater). Your body knows exactly what you need to get unstuck and move forward. In a session in which your therapist uses a Focusing approach, you learn to be with rather than get rid of whatever emotions, sensations or thoughts you are experiencing from a bigger, more peaceful place. This approach of being present, radically accepting what arises and creating space for it creates the conditions for positive change….and more clarity, freedom and direction.
4. Improves the quality of your relationships. Therapy supports effective interpersonal communication skills that lead to more genuine, caring relationships (including the one with yourself!) Using techniques such as Nonviolent Communication (aka NVC), developed by Marshall Rosenberg, an NVC trained therapist can help you develop self-empathy (deep and compassionate awareness of your own internal experience), relational empathy (deeply compassionate listening to others), and honest self-expression (expressing authentically that “inspires compassion in others”). You can learn to recognize unconscious patterns of thinking and speaking that may cause others to shut down or go on the attack. With a greater understanding or your relationship dynamics and new skills and awareness, you can have the fulfilling relationships you long for.
5. Addresses trauma and abuse. Therapy is a critical part of managing the symptoms and healing the impact of traumatic experiences. When trauma has not been resolved, it can impact your self-confidence, your relationships and your daily life in profound ways. Since trauma is physiological, somatic therapies and mindfulness practices are ideal for managing your symptoms, healing the memories and resolving the past well. Going through the therapeutic process can not only assist you to regain your sense of wholeness, it can be transformational.
Therapy is an investment in the emotional, mental and physical relief you deserve.