Therapy does not need to be about being “broken” or having something wrong with you, instead it’s a process that some people go through to turn challenging experiences into growth experiences and to deepen their understanding of themselves.
Symptoms (both physical and mental) are feedback that our system is out of balance. We would be very wise to pay attention to them and get curious, rather than mask or avoid these uncomfortable experiences. However this can be a scary and unfamiliar process and it’s hard to know where to start.
We have spent a long time developing defences to keep us disconnected from these uncomfortable feelings.
Therapy is the process of methodically recognising and gently challenging defences so we can reconnect with our authentic and whole selves.
The last few years have challenged us like never before, both as individuals and a collective. Challenging times can bring our attention to parts of ourselves that we may have successfully ignored. Coping strategies that we previously used to avoid our uncomfortable feelings may no longer be working or have become more extreme.
Challenging times can be a wake up call to look at ourselves in a new light and understand and love ourselves on a new level.
Anyone can benefit from seeing a psychologist at different times. Life is hard. People get stuck. Patterns of thinking and behaving can become unhealthy.
Here are some reasons you might seek psychological support:
- Life transitions
Everyone goes through transitions in life – starting school, getting married, becoming a parent, children leaving home, retiring. Sometimes these experiences are smooth and joyous, but all transitions involve a loss and people often benefit from extra support to navigate such changes.
- Behavioural problems
Whether adults or children, sometimes our behaviour doesn’t line up with our values and we can harm ourselves and our relationships. For children, especially, behaviour is a key way of communicating unmet needs or challenges.
- Relationship difficulties
Relationships are the place where we learn about ourselves. Early relationships shape our later relationships. Bringing patterns into consciousness can reduce the impact of our history on our ‘here and now’ relationships.
The impact of trauma lingers when the nervous system is overwhelmed by an experience. Simple and complex (ongoing, relational) trauma often requires support to be integrated and processed.
Self-medicating can be a sign of disconnection from yourself. In addition to alcohol and other drugs, self-medicating can include food, screens and gambling.
There is an epidemic of anxiety in adults and children. It can be so restrictive and debilitating. Understanding your anxiety and developing strategies to tolerate and manage it will reduce its impact on your life.
There are a few options for financial support to make psychological therapy more affordable. Talk to your GP about whether you’re eligible for a mental health care plan. I am also registered with the NDIS if this is relevant to your situation.