What do you do to feel better? Buy new shoes, change your style, seek a relationship, find comfort through achievement, food, or spending time with friends? There are many ways (productive and harmful) we try to improve our mood, change a pattern or make a fresh start. But how do we feel about having therapy? Emotional support from a professional is often considered a step for more serious mental health issues but what if our approach to dealing with our emotional wellbeing was the same as our physical wellbeing? When it comes to our physical health we talk openly about our injuries, go to the gym, have personal trainers, work out with friends and spend money on stylish gym gear, for many of us, it’s incorporated comfortably into our everyday lives. So, when will our mental health get the same treatment?
In celebration of World Mental Health Day, Chanelle Sowden, Psychotherapeutic Counsellor, explains how therapy is a practice with long-term and deeply effective benefits and even if you think you don’t need it, it really is something everyone should consider taking part in. Here are 7 reasons why it’s worth a try…
Space to tell your side of the story, uninterrupted.
There’s something so indulgent and yet productive about this experience. Whatever your situation, sharing your story is one of the greatest ways of expressing yourself and processing your feelings, it’s vital to our wellbeing. The best kind of talking is often where we can just ‘get it all out’ (like children do) without worrying about the other person. This practice alone is very powerful and can reduce emotional pain and provide spontaneous shifts or resolutions.
Opening up to friends or family certainly has its merits, but sometimes we just don’t feel comfortable enough with others knowing where we’re at with something. Shame, embarrassment and not feeling good enough are some of the strongest fears we have. Talking to a trained professional and separating from your situation can give you more freedom to open up.
Sharing or processing your feelings in the uncontained ways of normal life can sometimes have repercussions or consequences so it’s understandable we might hold back. The therapeutic relationship is like no other. It’s built on trust and confidentiality giving you the chance to explore your thoughts and feelings knowing that they won’t be brought up again outside of the therapy room if you don’t wish.
Meet you where you’re at
The beauty of therapy is that it’s for YOU as you are right now, struggles and all, no matter what they are. It’s not a place where someone will tell you what you ‘should’ be doing or what you ‘shouldn’t’ be doing, it’s a place for exploring and finding a deeper understanding of what’s going on and specifically what support you would benefit from.
Deeper understanding leads to true mastery of ourselves, from our blocks, our ‘stuckness’ and our unhelpful patterns. Sometimes it can happen in a simple realisation, a shift in perspective in either how we see ourselves or how we see others. When this takes place it can feel like everything has opened up and we feel much freer and amazingly empowered.
Exploring early life experiences
Our childhood experience can have a huge influence on our thoughts, feelings and behaviours in the here and now. Sometimes it’s obvious, but largely it’s unconscious and feels difficult to unpick and make sense of. Therapy offers a space to see this time as an ‘early programming’, raising your awareness to keep what was helpful and at the same time, challenge and disregard what wasn’t.
Having something safe and consistent when you’re dealing with a lot of change
The advice for repotting plants is; don’t do it randomly or too regularly, I think it’s the same for humans. Too much change can overwhelm us in ways we don’t even realise. Therapy can act as an anchor, keeping you grounded each week in a safe nurturing routine until your life is feeling more stable again.
words by Chanelle Sowden – Psychotherapeutic Counsellor
For more info on Chanelle and her online practice, visit chanellesowden.co.uk