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What is Therapy?

Updated: Oct 29, 2023

Therapy is an opportunity to spend time talking about your thoughts, experiences, feelings, beliefs and actually anything you would like, with a trained professional who can help you to understand yourself better. Sometimes, you don’t know what there is to talk about because it is a feeling or a set of symptoms that you can’t get rid of, the therapy will begin with that feeling or symptom and how it affects you. Therapy can be used for the resolution of psychological distress and responses to difficulties in living this life. For example, relationship problems, trauma, anxiety, depression, stress, and difficulty adjusting to change. It can also be used to aid personal growth and as a preventative measure to protect mental health and well-being. As Andrew Huberman says, just like going to the gym to enhance physical health, having good therapy can enhance mental health.

free therapy session with sarah blossom in leed

You might think that talking to a good friend is the equivalent of therapy and to you don’t really need therapy. Having good friends to talk to is most definitely a good thing. I have good friends who I love to talk to and they are supportive, this is healthy. Therapy is not the same as having a good friend to talk to and has a different impact exactly because the therapist is not your friend. They are a trained professional who can listen to what you express and identify possible causes of distress and areas for growth. A key difference is that normal, healthy friendships are mutual and there is, understandably, some expectation that you will also care about the needs of your friend. In a friendship, you will also feel obliged to protect that friend from the impact of what you are saying. In the therapy relationship, the therapist takes care of their own needs fully and does not need anything from you. It is a very unique sort of relationship where you can, in time, become fully open and share your thoughts, ideas, experiences, difficulties, joys, sorrows and anything that matters to you without any obligation to the therapist. The therapist will also offer you some core conditions that make it safe and beneficial for you.

Free initial therapy consultation with Sarah Blossom in Leeds

Good therapy is, at times, challenging because the therapist will help you to recognise thoughts or feelings that have been out of awareness, sometimes this feels difficult. However, bringing them into awareness and coming to terms with them, possibly also understanding why they are there, gives you a new ability to make changes and choose options that were not previously available. So much of our lives are lived on autopilot and often psychological distress or a feeling of being stuck or repeating bad decisions, can be the result of thoughts, beliefs and feeling outside of our awareness. To live more mentally healthy, we can carefully identify and challenge these things in a safe space with someone who is able to hold it for us and ensure we move forward safely. I sometimes see it as opening up and dropping jigsaw pieces on the floor. Each piece lands and there is a pile of pieces some facing up and some down. The picture is unclear. These pieces are like the parts of our inner world, the experiences we have in life and our responses to them. In therapy we can put them out on the floor and examine them in turn to see if they are part of the picture, we then work out where they fit, in time we create a picture that makes more sense. We can then, more easily decide what fits for us in lives because we have a picture and we more quickly know what doesn’t fir for us. Gaining this control of our thoughts, responses, actions and decisions through self-awareness ultimately leads to a more mentally healthy lifestyle. A good therapist will aim to balance the amount of challenge there is, it can be exhausting or can lead to getting stuck if the therapy is too challenging or not challenging enough. Good therapy should not be boring or like going around in circles.

Good therapy relies on a good relationship between the client and the therapist.

Free initial therapy consultation with Sarah Blossom in Leeds

Some people seek out therapy because they are overwhelmed with the need to resolve something. Others seek out therapy to aid their growth and personal development as a way of protecting and sustaining a healthy mind. I have sought out therapy for both these reasons and gained a lot each time. More and more I recognise the wisdom of doing more therapy before it becomes a need.

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