When life gets tough it can be incredibly important to reach out for help and find someone to talk to. A psychotherapist, with warmth and kindness, can help you find your voice and tell your story - at your own pace and in your own words. Whether you wish to address a specific painful issue, such as conflict at home or in the work place, or talk about more general feelings of anxiety and/or depression, the simple act of sharing your struggles can be tremendously healing and often brings immediate relief. Or you might be lacking energy and motivation and need help regaining your zest for, and direction, in life. You may have lost your enthusiasm for your relationship or your job and wish to explore new avenues. Or you may simply wish to embark upon a fascinating, exploratory journey of self-discovery. Whichever it is, greater self awareness gained from within the safety and confidentiality of the therapeutic relationship can lead to a vast improvement in your overall sense of well-being. As you gradually begin to connect with your inner feelings, and learn how to listen and recover from painful emotions, new insights and access to internal resources will help you make healthier decisions and choices for yourself. This is likely to leave you feeling stronger, calmer and more confident.
Clients often worry about the presence of uncomfortable feelings such as anger, sadness, and fear. Sometimes these feelings relate to a specific event such as a difficult relationship break-up or a death. Other times the source of the uncomfortable feelings is not so clear. This is due to the fact that many people choose to mask painful feelings with all manner of avoidant behaviours including addiction to drugs, sex, alcohol, food, shopping and social media. Some people feel devoid of any emotion at all having completely buried their feelings and disconnected from their inner emotional world. These are common and understandable responses to any kind of trauma. Sometimes the trauma relates to a discrete event such as a sexual assault, a car accident or a botched medical procedure. But more commonly it relates to difficult and painful childhood experiences which typically take place over a much longer period of time. Such adverse childhood experiences include being overly controlled, or overly protected by one's parents. They also include emotional neglect and physical unavailability. These kinds of developmental traumas often go undetected, yet can wreak havoc on people's lives, and in particular their ability to form and maintain healthy relationships.
Befriending Painful Emotions
Painful emotions represent a vital source of information which, if paid attention to, can guide us towards safer, happier and more fulfilling lives. Anger, for example, can be a vital source of positive energy. Replacing the futile goal of ever-lasting happiness with the more realistic goal of self-acceptance and inner peace paves the way for any number of emotions to arise and fall away in a more natural and less damaging way. Painful emotions can often be traced back to early family life. In order to be able to survive challenging family dynamics, and remain connected to their parents, children learn how to repress their true feelings. The stress that results from having to hide feelings of fear, anger and sadness creates the potential in adult life for those same feelings to be unconsciously triggered in the present. This becomes a mechanism for getting stuck in a relentless cycle of triggers and responses. Creating space in your life to bring these mechanisms into your conscious awareness can be an enlightening and empowering step to take.
It's Time to Ask for Help
Emotional distress, whether visible or not, if left untreated can seriously damage your health and well-being. So it's important not to ignore any symptoms you may have which point to a condition of underlying stress. Symptoms are wide-ranging and include anxiety, depression, addiction or any other kind of compulsive behaviour. Relationship difficulties and feelings of loneliness and isolation are another sign that it is time to ask for help.