Why does the thought of therapy feel like jumping off a cliff - counterintuitive and utterly terrifying?

October 9, 2018

Why is the thought of having therapy so SCARY? I’m going to share with you the real reason for the fear and why you should ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’. The answer will probably surprise you as the reason is not what most people expect.

 

Every single client that I see, everyone who gets in contact with me, and anyone that has ever done any therapy will feel fear. Clients always say to me how desperate they are to solve their problems but also how terrified they are of doing it. Why does it feel so scary? Why is it that we find the thought of coming to therapy so absolutely terrifying?

 

Are you someone who knows instinctively that there is something going on emotionally which is holding you back? You are aware that there is “stuff”  deep inside, from childhood, that is massively impacting on your life in the present. You keep thinking about booking the call, taking the first step but something stops you. You tell yourself:

 

“It’s not the right time.”

“I don’t have enough money.”

“I had a happy childhood.”

“There is nothing wrong.”

“I have had counselling.”

“I’ve tried NLP, EMDR, CBT, RTT……” and any other abbreviated therapy you can think of!

 

We come up with all of these different reasons why we can’t make that call or can’t go to therapy.

 

What your inner mind is really saying is….

 

“I AM TERRIFIED OF LOOKING AT THIS STUFF!”

 

So, what is really going on? Why would we be so scared, when we know that if we look at this stuff we will feel a whole lot better? We know that by doing this we will be able to move forward, get rid of some horrible symptom or some issue that has been hanging over us. So, why is it that we feel so absolutely terrified of taking a look or booking a call and coming to a session? Why does the thought of therapy feel like jumping off a cliff and utterly counter-intuitive?

 

Let’s take a look at the mechanics of what is happening in the subconscious when you are feeling fearful or telling yourself you can’t afford it. Unpleasant, upsetting, traumatic, hurtful things happen in childhood and your mind, at the time, doesn’t have the tools or resources to deal with the inevitable emotions that you are experiencing. As a child, you do not have the emotional or intellectual ability to process your emotions. You have to rely on the adults to help you do this until you reach a certain level of maturity and independence. The system within your mind is therefore easily overwhelmed in childhood. But it has to do something with that experience and more importantly with the feelings.

 

The only solution the subconscious has is to very cleverly push the emotions away and put a metaphorical lid on it. This is all happening at an unconscious level - it is not a conscious decision or choice. Having contained the feelings, the subconscious now needs a way to keep them there until such a time as you are able to deal with them without becoming completely overwhelmed. The subconscious always wants to protect you and ensure your survival. It is very vigilant in its duty of protector.

 

The inner mind needs to put something in place to stop you from going near the ‘dangerous’ emotional material. It sets up a kind of alarm system and the thing that it uses to keep everything contained is FEAR. It is such a clever system. Every time you touch up against the edges of this emotional container, when your mind ventures near it or anything that reminds your subconscious of it, the alarm system is set off and puts you in a state of fear. You feel all of the “I am absolutely terrified,” “I’m not going,” “I don’t have enough money,” “I don’t have enough time,” and whatever other ways fear manifests for you.

 

Fear is the thing that the mind puts in place to stop you from looking at your stuff. Understandably, you feel this fear and conclude that whatever is held in that emotional container must be the same or even worse than what you are feeling now. The truth is that the content may not necessarily feel the same as this fear when you actually open it up and get into it. It might be that there is fear there, but actually, it is more likely that there will be a whole mix of other emotions like guilt, shame, anger, sadness, or grief.

 

So, the feeling of fear before therapy does not always correlate to what you go on to explore and process. They are in fact two separate entities. You have got the emotional content and then you have the fear, which is the mechanism that protected you from it when you were a child. Now you are an adult, it is no longer the case that these emotions, memories and feelings will necessarily overwhelm you. As an adult, you do have all of the resources and capability to process and deal with whatever the content is. As a child, delving into the feelings would have been impossible and detrimental to your wellbeing but as an adult, not looking is what threatens your wellbeing.

 

So, what do you do? It is all very well me telling you this but is it going to stop you feeling the fear? No, it is not. You will still feel it. You might even feel it every time you come to do a session. But, knowing it, understanding it means that you can start to develop a way of recognising when that resistance is going on and navigate your way through that. Which is why the phrase “feel the fear and do it anyway” is so true.

 

You can take that first step today, move past the fear towards freedom and book a call.

 

If you have any questions, if this has brought anything up then please do get in touch. You can book a FREE consultation here. You can also find lots of information on the website www.kirstywick.co.uk.

 

Want to learn more? Check out my weekly Facebook live #thursdaytherapy every Thursday at 1pm here on the Kirsty Wick Analytical Hypnotherapy page. Each week I chat about therapy, without the jargon, and look at different techniques, tools, share information and look at specific issues such as anxiety, relationships, self-esteem and confidence. Get in touch with any question you would like answered or an issue you are struggling with.

 

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