When I meet someone new and we are engaged in a conversation, eventually the question rises to the surface: "What do you do for a living?" I take a little breath and share, "I am a psychotherapist." Their responses is usually a look of fear, like they are a mouse and I'm the cat that just caught them. Next, they ask "Are your analyzing me right now?"
It's normal to be nervous when you are first considering therapy, but I'm here to assure you there is nothing to fear. In truth, the history of psychology dates back to the Ancient Greeks. For them, therapy was a study of the soul. Today, we've made it all about "mommy" issues and "daddy" issues.
The truth is that in a dynamic therapy practice, one will need to address those barriers that stand in our way of knowing our soul nature. It's true that our family and cultural patterns patterns have molded us, and those barriers will need to be broken down to discover what the Greeks started a long time ago.
Today, many of our mental health problems, from anxiety and depression to addiction, come when we try to leap over the barriers rather than deconstruct them slowly, brick by brick, through talk therapy. I see this all the time, when someone uses drugs, alcohol, food, sex, and other maneuvers to try to leap over the barriers that we all, eventually, have to break down. These coping mechanisms come with debilitating side effects and at the end of you day, there are only more barriers to scale.
This is where talk therapy enters the picture. The talk is just an exploration of these barriers, such as anger, low self esteem, trauma, addiction, fear, loneliness, hatred of self, or broken relationships. Yes, strong emotions will bubble to the surface. At times, talk therapy can feel like riding a roller coaster, full of highs and lows, but the ride always comes to an end. And most often, at the end of the sessions, patients take a deep breath and area ready to ride the rails again. Later, they may even tell everyone how much fun it was.
As you begin this journey, remember that on this ride you have a guide, someone to assist you in riding those peaks and valleys. And if you need to scream or cry that's ok. The journey is to the soul - and it is the ride of a lifetime!