Psychotherapy and Counselling seeks to understand why, and from a place of understanding we can create intelligent solutions. Bizarrely, psychiatric care is generally focussed on numbing emotion (rather than understanding it) and managing behaviour (changing what we do) rather than understanding (why we do it).
I worked for many years in Psychiatric hospitals, but it was only when I began using Psychotherapeutic approaches that I felt like I was really helping patients to address their problems, rather than just managing symptoms. Recognising and understanding our emotional state is the first step to addressing our behaviour and our emotional habits. I studied further and combined my new knowledge with a decade of experience as a mental health nurse.
I realised that all mental distress causes emotional pain, and how we manage our pain can make a significant difference. Good management helps us to salve our pain, heal and grow. We can learn to avoid and minimise pain, to recognise how to soothe it, and when we have less pain in our lives we have the confidence and energy to grow and develop.
Poor management often means the reverse; numbing or denying our pain allows the damage to continue, frustration at our reduced state or unhelpful patterns makes us feel worse and we create cycle of powerlessness which increases our difficulties: Difficulties with relationships, with substance abuse, with self-harm, with self-sabotage.
Therapy is meaningful work and it can be tough, (I have a box of tissues in my room for a good reason!) It’s painful sometimes, but it can also be fulfilling, enhancing and fun (yes, really!) It’s a source of pride for me that any noise emanating from my consulting room is as likely to be laughter as tears.