‘What stops you from seeking Therapy?’ I asked this question to my Instagram followers and the most common answer was- ‘We don’t know how therapy can help’
A decade ago, I was in an unhealthy mental space with self-harm behavior, frequent crying spells, sleeplessness and angry outbursts. And that’s when I decided to embrace therapy.
And here’s how that decision helped me.
1. Safe Space-
I grew up in an environment experiencing verbal, physical and emotional abuse. And those traumatic experiences rewired my brain. I constantly felt judged- by friends, family, extended family and even strangers. Therapy offered me a safe and non-judgmental space.
That space helped me to open up and talk about the challenges and emotional issues that I experienced.
2. Neutral & New Perspectives-
‘My mom…she never loved me. She rejected me when I was a baby. How could she do that?’ I remember asking this question in one of the sessions.
‘Okay. I hear you. Now for a moment can we look at the past events through your mom’s perspective? What do you observe?’
We hear a lot about stepping into another person’s shoes however, in a therapeutic setting I got this opportunity to experience what it is to step into another person’s shoes. During the activity, I remember thinking about my mom’s conditioning, her environment, her beliefs and thought processes and how all of that might have influenced her to take the decision of distancing herself.
And after the activity, the way I felt about my past shifted. I no longer blamed my mom for her behavior. I processed the past with a new and empowering filter.
Therapists are trained to guide you with a dissociated lens or from a neutral space. And this guidance can help us gather new perspectives towards our challenges.
3. Questioning the Language Patterns-
Therapists are trained to listen, observe and question the language i.e., the words that we use to describe our inner experiences.
For many years I told myself- Nobody loves me.
In the above statement- Nobody is a generalization and my therapist gently brought my attention to that pattern by asking- Nobody…? Really…?
And that question made me pause and ask myself- Really… no one loves me?
And that wasn’t true. There were many people who loved me.
When I learnt the ways to question my self-talk, my thinking process changed and my feelings shifted too.
4. Process & Resolve Emotions-
‘I get angry a lot…and when I’m angry I shout and self-harm. I don’t want to feel angry’, I remember saying this to my therapist.
‘Have you ever wondered what is that anger trying to tell you? What could be its positive intention? What could be an emotion behind that anger?’
I had never thought that way.
I always felt ashamed about feeling angry and the behaviors that followed the angry outbursts. Through therapy I learnt ways in which I could process and resolve any unpleasant emotions. I became more open to sit with the uncomfortable feelings and observe them.
And that’s how therapy helped me. It gave me a direction and tools to take care of my mental health.
There are different forms of therapy available- Art therapy, Dance Movement Therapy, Drama Therapy, Play Therapy and many more. If you have had traumatic experiences or find it challenging to process any emotion/s, then I invite you to seek therapy.
Maybe as you get a safe space to open up, you may learn better coping strategies and tools to navigate through any challenges in life.
Thank you for stopping by and listening to me.
What are your thoughts on Therapy? How do you take care of your mental and emotional health?