Movies have portrayed the process of therapy for quite some time. We’ve read about it in books and heard stories (both good and bad) from the people around us. Even with all the information given to us by others, it is difficult to truly picture what the process of therapy looks like. What is it like to be vulnerable and share pieces of your world to someone? What’s the point? The answer isn’t simple and, to be honest, it is incredibly different for each person. The experience not only depends on the unique person seeking therapy, but also the therapist. The idea of the unexpected can feel daunting and ominous. Which is why I would like to paint you a picture of one way to view therapy.
Counseling and therapy often involve various techniques and interventions. Each technique is like an added tool in our figurative therapeutic tool box. Imagine, when you walk through the door to a counseling session, you’re coming in with the tool box you use to get through life. In that box, are the ways in which you have coped with various challenges and obstacles. Those items helped get you through all that life has thrown in your direction. Although you likely entered that door with some tools already in your toolbox, the goal is to add some more. There will be times that a tool you thought could help in a situation doesn’t, or you just need something different.
In therapy, we can work together to identify the problems or concerns you are facing. Once we know what is going on, we can collaborate on identifying and practicing various techniques and tools to help with your situation. In the counseling world, there are techniques and interventions that have been researched, studied, and proven to help with various issues. While I use many of these tools when working with clients, I also encourage self-exploration to identify unique practices that are best for your needs.
Get to know yourself
Even while participating in therapy, don’t be afraid to explore additional techniques that help get you through life’s challenges. While you’re learning about “reframing thoughts” and “mindfulness” in therapy, you may have found that walking around your neighborhood helps you relax. That is a tool. That walk may be the one thing you need in a situation to deal with a specific stressor. So, learn that about yourself; get to know you.
For many, water is a relaxing element that relieves stress by its simplest form. Hearing, seeing, and/or feeling water can alleviate tension from the body and allow for an individual to feel comfort. This sense of ease can help in dealing with negative thoughts, lowering anxiety, and expanding emotional awareness. For some, this may look like taking the extra time to feel the water touching your hands under the flowing sink faucet; giving yourself an extra few moments when you are near a flowing creek or river to just watch and listen; allowing yourself the relaxation time when you lay on your bed with the lights off and play your favorite water sounds.
You may realize that a specific tv show makes you feel good- it could be the way it makes you laugh or escape from the stress of the day. Maybe you learn that the feel of the sun on your skin improves your mood and you decide to make sure you get out of the office on your lunch break- or allow yourself 5 minutes before an important meeting to get that vitamin D.
The techniques and tools you learn in therapy can be so helpful. I not only bring them to my clients, but I use them in my personal life as well. That being said, I do not believe in having too many tools. If it seems like your tool box is getting too full, maybe you just need a larger box. If it becomes too heavy, I bet there are some out there with wheels! Take care of yourself. Learn about yourself. Find your tool. Don’t be afraid to explore what is already around you. You deserve it. If you would like to add therapy to your tool box, I would love to help.