Being heard:

Therapy is a safe place where you can explore your feelings and be heard.  So few people understand emotional pain, especially in our Western culture where emotions are often taboo.  People hide their pain from friends, family, and co-workers, for fear of being judged.  The result is that the pain is compounded by fear and shame, and a sense of being abandoned by those around you.  Often people come to therapy to vent.  It feels good and is a wonderful place to start.  Therapy is more than that though.  It can help you understand yourself, cope with the pain, and even transform it into hope.

 

Understanding yourself:

Feelings are confusing.  Some feel good and some feel bad, but all feelings are important because they give you information about yourself and what's around you.  For example, if you feel fear you might be in a situation that isn't safe - respect that feeling.  If you feel overwhelmed, you might be taking on too much - honor that feeling.  If you feel angry you might be in a toxic relationship - learn from that feeling.  If you feel joy you might be proud of yourself or confident - savor that feeling.  Feelings are complex; they include emotion, physical sensation and thoughts.  No one taught us about this so it can be extremely hard to sort it out alone.

 

Learning how to cope:

As young children there is an inherent expectation to be loved and cared for.  When those expectations are dashed you feel pain which you may carry into adulthood.  We aren't taught to cope with pain so we stumble through.  Therapy can teach you skills to help cope with it all.  Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is excellent for training you how to use these skills daily. 

 

Transforming pain:

Pain happens when we are missing something vital in our lives.  This is called a "missing experience".  If you can re-experience what you missed the first time around, then you can actually transform the pain into something else.  I've seen in happen over and over.  If it didn't work, I wouldn't be doing this.

 

When therapy is critical:

If you're reading this then you are experiencing pain in your life.  Life is too short to waste it living in quiet agony.  Therapy is vital when your relationships are in danger, your job is at risk, you can't get out of bed in the morning, you cry all the time or have panic attacks, your friends start to notice that something is wrong, you can't sleep and have nightmares, or you feel hopeless or worthless.  In short, when you're life feels like it's falling apart.  This is not sustainable.