What is therapy good for?

Therapy is partly about seeing the same things in a new or different way
Therapy is about seeing the same things in a new way

Everywhere you turn these days there is an advertisement for some sort of therapy, for your mind or body, your cat or your home. Treatments and ‘cures’ abound, but are they any good?

I AM going to say that psychotherapy is helpful, aren’t I? After all, that is what I do. But, although I do think it is helpful, it is not so for everyone, nor is it helpful at all times in one’s life.

To be clear: looking after your mind, your body and your spiritual needs are all important- all the time, throughout your life- if you want to maximise your experience in this lifetime.

However, as humans, with all our flaws and funny bits, it means that, from time to time, we will need help in one or more of these areas.

Approaches that help you to work with your body, balance your energy, and calm your mind (think yoga, t’ai chi, reiki, mindfulness) are great at helping you to ground yourself and face daily challenges. These energy approaches are a great way to take care of yourself and be in touch with your body and your mind.

However, although they work well as foundations for good living, they do not in themselves directly address difficulties such as grief, trauma, low self-esteem, and anxiety and depression. All these psychological difficulties are also experienced by our bodies. Depression, for example, is a very physical experience- low energy, under or over sleeping, tearfulness- and so yoga, t’ai chi are both great for moving stuck energy around your body. But, something more is needed, and that something is a process whereby the depression, its expression and meaning are gradually moved into conscious awareness. This process is called ‘metalisation’ and it means that sensations, thoughts and feelings are given language, meaning and connection within our minds and our lives. This process takes place in therapy, and it is this process, over time, that is transformative. Being understood by yourself and others is a huge relief and it releases huge amounts of ego and soul energy that become newly available to you.

How long that takes depends on a number of factors that vary for each person, but life is not a race. What is more important is that you feel comfortable and safe working with your therapist and committed to getting the best life for yourself. Good luck!

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