At a young age, we love and admire fictional superheros who step up and solve problems. But what happens when we have real problems in real life? The lone superhero mentality may inspire, but it can also stop us from asking for help. Humans are actually more like pack animals-we need others to survive. We don’t need to go through life on our own. Therapy can help.
For starters, remember these 3 things:
- Some type of pain, crisis or trauma is inevitable.
- We have the ability to heal.
- We are social beings.
Combine these three facts and it all points to our being willing and able to ask for help. We may have close family members. Perhaps we call upon a partner or spouse. Many rely on trusted friends. These are all important and valid choices. So is therapy.
6 Ways Therapy Helps Us to Heal
Understand your situation and illness better
It might be depression, anxiety, or anger issues. Maybe you came to therapy to deal with PTSD, grief, or conflict with your partner. Whatever your situation or condition, it can be confusing. Being unable to understand the issues in your life can often feel like being on a hamster wheel that is hard to step off of. Therapy empowers us with knowledge and self-awareness. We can feel more able to grasp the reality we face. We can come up with a plan to address it.
Make sense of your past/Recognize your patterns
In the midst of a crisis, it’s sometimes hard to see the big picture. Therapy can help us connect the dots. What events from our past have played a role? Are we locked into patterns that don’t help us? Therapy can help us step back and assess what might be contributing to the ways in which we are viewing things or how we got into the situation in the first place.
Separate your personality from your thoughts and symptoms
We are more than our thoughts and reactions. Certain conditions create changes within us but they don’t have to change us. Therapy enables us to recognize these differences.
Identify triggers, fears, insecurities, and unproductive habits
Questions like these can and will be addressed during therapy:
- What am I afraid of?
- What triggers my fear?
- Why do certain events cause me to feel insecure?
- How do I react to such triggers?
- Am I falling back on destructive habits like addiction?
The more we learn about ourselves, the faster the healing happens.
An inevitable part of our inner disturbance is its impact on others. Our relationships suffer. We hurt other people and alienate ourselves. Therapy can heal relationships with
- Family members
Therapy helps healing happen in meaningful, lasting ways. That includes healing the relationships in our life.
Set goals, create routines, develop a plan
Self-awareness and self-education are great. But we need a plan of action to get from here to there. We must visualize goals and create rituals to move us towards those goals. Doing this alone is a challenge at any point in your life. In a crisis, help is even more important. You and your therapist will form the right strategy for you.
You may hear the term “talk therapy” and think you’ve done enough talking about your problems. “Therapy’s not the answer for me,” you say. And you’d be right. If therapy were just about reliving the past or rehashing your problems. But therapy is much more than talk. It’s about moving towards solutions. How? You may:
- Get homework assignments
- Write about your emotions
- Learn to navigate your thoughts more effectively
- Test yourself in real life situations
All in all, you’ll examine your past, but the focus will be on the present…and the future. You and your therapist will form a team. The goals are about you. The focus is on you. When crisis strikes, you can heal. Therapy exists to help make that healing happen quicker and last longer.
There are many forms and methods of therapy. To find out which one is best for you and the healing you need, reach out and ask someone what has worked for them. Read therapist’s websites, find one that you resonate with and make an appointment. If it feels right, start the journey of your self exploration and growth.
by Counselingwise on January 9, 2017