Lisa Shouldice MA, RP, CCP, Psychotherapist
|Posted on 16 August, 2016 at 14:40|
When we decide to enter a therapeutic relationship and begin a healing journey, we often begin by talking about self-care and coping. These are areas of strength and resiliency that help us get through tough times. When we are in therapy we sometimes feel worse before we get better. This is likely because when we are in therapy we are talking about the things and relationships that are not working in our lives, and presenting the personal qualities that we would like to change. This can result in us feeling sad and thinking about difficult issues and memories when we are not in session. So a part of the therapeutic process must involve tapping into our inner strengths and resources. I feel it is important to do this in a real way. We all know it is important to eat well, exercise and talk to friends when we are worried about things, but what about when we are really distressed? We all tend to cope in more negative ways and inner strength to make changes needs to come from a deep place. We need to tap into out inner resources. This is different than basic coping and self-care. It is an internal resource. When I talk to my clients about strength to heal and get through difficult times, I consider the personal defences a client has developed in their life. Whether you dissociate, get angry or isolate when you are emotionally and psychically exhausted, these are all a testament to your natural strength. These defences are likely a part of the "dysfunctional" and problematic concerns that brought you to counselling. But they are also the natural protective mechanisms you developed to adapt to difficulties in your life. You can redirect this energy to transform your life and create lasting change. If anger is your natural "go-to" it tells me you have strong spirit and do not accept unacceptable behaviour from the people around you. If you dissociate you are likely creative and sensitive. It is possible to transform your creativity into activities that support your healing, such as art exercises. It is possible to learn &/or strengthen emotional intelligence to learn to use your sensitivity to tell you what is going on in your world and relationships and learn to express feelings in a healthy way that leads to further intimacy in your life. These are a few examples of how your seemingly worst character traits can be transformed to help you meet your goals, find inner strength and get the life you want.