How does psychotherapy help with emotional issues?
By learning -- it can be cathartic, relieving, and at times painful... with lasting Insights, awareness, tools. Can you recall a memory when you wanted to learn something new? The longer you thought about it, the more impossible it seemed. Then you did it -- perhaps in baby steps, becoming more and more competent. Do you remember the sense of deep satisfaction and accomplishment that gave you? That's what you'll feel in psychotherapy.
Empowering first step
The goal from the beginning is to get you to take control of your own life. To be empowered and relieved. In our first meeting, we'll see whether we are a good fit, discuss problems and strengths, and set goals with a rough plan of action. Throughout therapy, I offer guidance, honest feedback, and a supportive environment with warmth, empathy, humor, intuition, expertise.
Focus on Priorities
After the initial evaluation, our immediate priority is your safety, managing any potential crisis, and providing you with helpful tools. Since lifestyle contributes to anxiety and mood disturbances, we'll look at your daily habits in terms of nutrition, exercise, sleep, meditation, hobbies, and relationships, and make a plan to implement changes, if necessary. (I may refer some clients to a psychiatrist to determine whether symptoms have a physical cause; in those cases, medication enhances therapy.)
Foster Insights and Self-awareness
Now, it's time to do deeper work and explore together how past experiences and family culture have shaped your distressing emotional reactions. Often they're based on automatic assumptions and mistaken realities (catastrophizing, generalizing, etc.) that were developed as far back as childhood. Once you understand the causes of your inner blocks, you start healing. Over time, your subconscious adapts to these insights and lets you develop healthier coping mechanisms. In parallel, you learn to pay attention to painful feelings. Instead of avoiding them (ignoring, denying, acting out etc.), you learn to deal with them.
You increasingly know your reactive patterns and underlying issues, can link them to past experiences or trauma, let go of most of them. This sometimes feels awkward because the old "me" wants to do the same old familiar self-destructive thing. With continuous practice, this changes for the better, and you break free.
The underlying goal of our work is to awaken your own resources and free yourself from internal blocks in order to achieve self-confidence and self-reliance. Through client feedback and my own personal experience, I know that therapy is a liberating journey, putting you in touch with your true self and potential.
How the past can shape you
A father pays (for his own reasons) no attention to his son. No physical affection. This child may conclude: "I'm a failure, what's wrong with me?" The misleading assumption is: "I have to be perfect, make no mistakes." In adulthood, these unmet needs for love and validation in the past can be self-defeating: obsessing with what people think, how to please them, becoming upset when criticized or ignored.