What is therapy and is it for you?
Martin Doyle from AnamCara Therapy explores with us the questions: What is therapy? Why might it be helpful for me? And what can I expect from it?
Therapy is many things to many people. But the common denominator in therapy is that people choose to go because they are “suffering” in some way - mentally or emotionally - and need some support, to change, to grow, or to move on.
In my experience, people usually come to therapy when they feel lost, overwhelmed or unable to cope with life. I use the term “suffering” to describe the feelings that people experience when they face difficult issues in their lives. It can be triggered by any number of things; divorce, health challenges, a new job, loneliness, feelings of inadequacy, identity issues, bereavement, financial worries, or relationship difficulties (personal and professional).
The 3 Ps
Life is full of change and inevitable suffering. Change can be traumatic and dramatic (cancer diagnosis); it can be sudden and unexpected (death of a loved one, loss of a job); or it can be slow, gradual and oftentimes imperceptible (identity issues, relationship problems). Furthermore, there can be internal forces that trigger suffering in us.
These forces include what therapists describe as the 3 Ps: the Pleaser, the Performer and the Perfectionist. These three traits in particular can unconsciously create untold suffering in our lives and in our relationships.
What therapy is not
The most common misconception around therapy is that it’s somewhere to get advice and be offered solutions to problems. Therapists are not there to give answers to questions or solutions to problems or to fix people. Rather, therapy, from my experience, is about:
- Creating a safe non-judgmental space where the client is listened to in a way that allows the client to listen to themselves.
- In so doing, the client deepens their self-awareness; enabling the client to find their own answers within themselves.
- This introduces the important element of choice.
- Making choices initiates the long-desired change in the client and personal growth follow - this facilitates the client to reach their full human potential.
What can you expect from therapy?
So, what can you expect from therapy?
- A confidential, non-judgmental space where you are listened to with understanding - a space where you can explore what that is like for you and be held safely in that unfolding space.
- A place where you can be yourself; it is often not easy for any of us to be ourselves, and therapy allows you to be just as you are in the moment, with all your thoughts and feelings, and not as you feel you should be or maybe are expected to be.
- A place to explore; therapy provides a place for you to explore the experiences, events and encounters that may cause you to feel confused, conflicted and uncomfortable at more depth.
- Greater clarity, confidence and compassion for yourself; through engagement with the issues, new meaning and insights occur that bring greater clarity, confidence and self-compassion - clients report that “it’s like a fog is lifting."
- Increased energy, motivation and self-belief - this often leads to new beliefs about yourself that bolster motivation and energy for life and relationships, thus reinvigorating your life.
A life lived to the fullest
“We do not see things as they are. We see things as we are” ~ Anais Nin
Discovering this truth is, for me, essentially the adventure of therapy. We all deserve a life lived to the fullest, with meaning, purpose and a sense of fulfilment and satisfaction. Therapy is one way to make this aspiration a reality.
Martin Doyle is Irish, married and residing in Amsterdam. In his private clinical practice AnamCara, Martin creates a safe and confidential space where clients can explore their issues.