The Biggest Challenge You Will Face in Therapy
Anyone who has ever considered therapy has worries:
Will I be able to do the hypnotherapy?
Will I be able to handle feeling my feelings?
How can I sort out the past if I don't even remember my childhood?
I feel terrified of coming face to face with the past and having to remember something traumatic.
All of those things are really challenging. The feelings that you feel and discharge during therapy are really challenging. But actually, the biggest challenge occurs before you even book your appointment or sit in the ‘therapeutic’ chair. The biggest hurdle that you have to overcome is your mind and body’s desire for homeostasis, for stability.
Our mind has a real aversion to any kind of change. It sees it as threatening. Even if there is psychic trauma that needs to be resolved, and even if you are really suffering from horrible, debilitating symptoms because of your trauma, the mind will still believe that if you were to look at it and shake that box that this will provoke instability and this is to be avoided at all costs. However, another part of your subconscious mind knows that processing unresolved emotional material is the only thing that is going to make you feel better. Avoiding disruption i.e. not going to therapy, gives the mind the illusion of having peace and harmony. We call this delusion resistance.
As a side note, when I use the word trauma, I am referring both to experiences that are universally traumatic (child abuse, any emotional, physical or sexual abuse) and subjective trauma. Trauma can be anything that has happened to you, including relationships that caused you to have a strong negative response. We are not interested in whether the wider world considers an experience to be traumatic. We are interested in if it was traumatic for you.
Also, the word resistance. It’s a term that is often bandied about in pop psychology, spiritual and business circles. If someone is struggling with an upper limit or block, people are very quick to say, “Oh, that is your resistance.” I’ve seen it used as a way to criticise someone, to apportion blame. So, palming off a mistake as the other person's resistance for instance and to gloss over feelings. The truth is we all have resistance in some shape or form. It is an unconscious, protective mechanism. We should not be using the word resistance as a stick to beat people with. Instead if we believe someone has hit some resistance we should have compassion because it can be indicative of deep emotional pain.
So before people engage in therapy, they generally fall into two groups. The first group is the people who subconsciously or consciously know that they have the inner resources to undertake the therapeutic process. In the second group are the people who don’t believe that they possess the necessary resolve to unravel their trauma. It actually isn’t true that one person can do it and another person cannot. It is about whether or not that person has the belief in themselves, and again that belief is unconscious. So, somewhere inside we have people who believe they can do it and we have people who don’t believe they can do it.
The people who unconsciously don’t believe they can do it don't realise that this is why they are avoiding therapy. They are very good at intellectualising the reasons why they don’t want to have therapy. They will tell you that they had a very happy childhood. They will tell you ‘this is just the way I am’. They will tell you that it’s genetic, that depression and anxiety etc. runs in their family. They might be very critical of therapy, dismissing it as a waste of time. They may say there is no point digging around in the past.
The people who do believe in their ability to heal will still experience resistance but the difference is that they are able to overcome it.
For the anti-therapy group of people it isn't so much that they can't do it but rather that they need more space and time to work through their resistance. They haven’t come to the point where they actually believe that they can do it and sadly some people may never reach that point.
It probably seems like I'm saying that everyone needs therapy and anyone who says they don't need it is in denial. Whilst it's difficult to argue that really knowing yourself and your inner world wouldn't be beneficial to most people I appreciate that therapy is not for everyone. If you are happy in your life, if you are physically well, if you have healthy relationships and you don’t suffer from any symptoms then you probably don’t need therapy.
If you're reading this, it’s far more likely that you already possess the inner belief that you can do this. You know you can do it. But, yes, you still feel scared. You may have tried or be trying lots of other therapies that gently manoeuvre around the surface of things but don’t go deep. You may be still using your intellect to rationalise why you can’t do therapy. Why it’s not the right time. Why you can’t afford it.
If this is you - take heart that all of that is normal. If you have made the decision and you know that you are going to do therapy but it just doesn’t feel quite right yet - sometimes it takes people years to build up to it - that is fine because actually, all you are doing is standing on the edge waiting to make that leap. It takes us all varying amounts of time to make the decision to do something about our trauma. Your subconscious knows when the time is right.
If you are reading this and thinking of people in your life that you wish would go and get some therapy, I understand the frustration. When you can see that they desperately need some help it is confusing trying to fathom out why they won’t just do it. Have patience, be compassionate because their reluctance and resistance is indicative of the level of terror and fear they have inside. Their hesitation and emotional rigidity is just them trying to find a way to overcome their fear and find that inner belief.
Everyone has the ability to heal their psychic trauma, no matter how big or small. The reason I can be so confident about that is because you have already survived it. Whatever memories are there, whatever you need to look at, it is already inside you. You have already lived through it. You have already come out the other side. This is the irrefutable evidence that proves that you do have the internal resources and capability to look at and resolve whatever “it” is.
If that has given you a little nudge or if you would like to talk about your resistance, then you can book a free call with me here. You can also find lots of information on the website www.kirstywick.co.uk.