The Benefits of Therapy
The drivers of our thoughts, feelings and beliefs are often hidden from our consciousness. These come from a variety of sources like past experiences, our evolutionary history and the culture we are steeped in. Therapy provides the space to examine, recognise and better control our thinking and emotional responses disrupting older less accurate stories and assumptions. Without this knowledge, we are not fully in charge and may find it hard to behave in ways or make decisions that work best for us in the long term.
Managing Stress and Anxiety
Stress is a useful example. It is commonly experienced as the result of anticipating catastrophic or awful things based on internal fears we have developed, rather than external realities. We all have the opportunity to reduce stress by taking control of our internal narrative once we can raise it into consciousness.
We are likely to repeat our experiences of our primary relationships (those experienced in childhood) with current partners or those we are in relationship with (e.g., managers, friends) unless these are explored. Therapy provides an opportunity to work out what roles we play in relationships and how our early attachment to our carers can affect our relationships in the here and now. This can help improve our relationships, stop us repeating more negative patterns and build healthier, more satisfying connections with others.
Naming it to Tame it - Psychologist Daniel Siegel
Another benefit of therapy is the idea of naming it to tame it. Research shows that people who can name their feelings and express their emotions are less likely to suffer physically and mentally.
When we cannot acknowledge or express difficult emotions, we fall back on older ingrained, coping mechanisms. Many of these learnt strategies are detrimental in the long term. For example, we learn to disassociate to deal with difficult situations or we are anxious to stop us potentially experiencing loss or “bad” things happening but then must live with the consequences of these behaviours. Therapy helps us regulate our emotions and find healthier ways of coping, steering us away from more harmful responses.