People often come to therapy when they are completely overwhelmed and are now aware that they are not functioning as they used to.
The most common statements I hear in the first session is "I feel like I have lost myself" - "I am totally fed up and sick of myself" and "I just sooooo want to change how I am, I am not living the life I want". Things have usually built up considerably...
Psychotherapy can act a "mental vitamin boost" and emotional "tidying up". It is the one place that you can come in, express yourself with freedom, dropping the "mask" at the door and engage in being real without any fear of being judged or criticised.
Therapy can help prevent repetition of past mistakes, cycles and patterns by exploring and addressing the root causes and helping an individual cultivate awareness. It can give someone a brand new perspective on life and help them develop resilience, learning new ways of seeing, perceiving and being.
What are the main signs that can help identify if therapy may be a good option to explore?
Wanting to change and being motivated to take action to make it happen.
Wanting more from life.
Feeling intense emotions that you can't seem to control and keep a lid on.
Trying to ignore an issue in life and it won't go away. You find yourself constantly thinking about it.
Feeling like you are just not "yourself" anymore.
You feel disconnected from yourself and others.
Not sleeping and feeling exhausted without a medical reason or rationale.
Feeling like you are stuck and that no matter what you do you cannot seem to move yourself forward in life.
Recurring bodily symptoms that bother you and yet the Doctor has given you the "all clear".
Feeling constantly stressed out.
Feeling like everything is a struggle and that it is hard to manage and cope on a day to day basis.
Having difficulty relating to others.
Worrying about what other people think about you.
Feeling like you are drowning in "drama".
Feeling heavy, like you are carrying so many problems on your shoulders.
Having difficulty relating to yourself and mentally beating yourself up.
When you have lost someone or something and are having a difficult time processing it.
You have experienced something traumatic. When a trauma has been experienced the earlier you talk to someone the easier it is to work through and cope in a healthy way creating strategies to evolve beyond it.
Finding yourself going out of your way to avoid certain situations and thus limiting the scope of your life.
Feeling helpless and powerless.
You feel no joy from things in life that previously gave you joy.
Feeling like there is something missing from your life.
You can't manage to do things you normally would derive pleasure from on a daily basis.
This list is by no means exhaustive but represents some of the more common factors that appear for individuals.
Psychotherapy is a very powerful tool but you have to want to use it.
Annie O'Brien M.Sc. MIACP MIHA has a Masters Degree in Integrative Counselling and Psychotherapy from Turning Point Institute and Dublin City University. This course is one of the leading training courses in Ireland and is recognised by the Irish Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (IACP), the Irish Association of Humanistic and Integrative Psychotherapy (IAHIP) and the European Association for Integrative Psychotherapy (EAIP).