How counselling can help build emotional resilience
Making the decision to seek counselling can be a brave and bold step.
Perhaps a reason for this is because we don’t understand our emotional responses to everyday situations. For example, “I don’t understand why I get so angry at slightest thing” or “whenever I hear that song I cry and I don’t know why”.
Often this is because we carry the emotional impact of our life experiences with us. We may not always recognise it or indeed be conscious of it but we carry them with us regardless. Everyday situations can then act as “triggers” that bring these emotions to the surface.
Counselling can provide a safe place to talk and help make sense of some of the life events or experiences you have been through. On your way to understanding these, you may find you connect to emotions and feelings that take you by surprise or are more potent than you imagined. This connection enables an opportunity to process feelings and emotions that you may have been holding on to.
While in therapy your counsellor can make use of specific indicators, like the general examples mentioned earlier and use these as vitals sources of information. Exploring these and being curious helps us understand more about the deeper rooted issues these “triggers” touch. A compassionate understanding helps to develop the relationship you have with yourself by recognising and importantly realising the emotional impact life experience or life events have had on you.
Your counsellor will guide this discovery and when you know more about your emotional responses, you will have a greater understanding of what these triggers really mean to you. When you know the triggers, you can begin to join up the dots. "I’m beginning to understand what it is I am so angry about” or “I can see that song touches a personal experience around loss for me”. Knowledge really can be liberating.
Key factors in building emotional resilience is to acknowledge and accept emotions, not to ignore and repress them. This alone can make a difference. It takes the power out of them. It is a myth that emotionally resilient people only experience positive emotions. Emotionally resilient people will also experience difficult and sometimes negative feelings. Repressing or ignoring emotions can give them more strength, which can lead to them finding ways out that are difficult to contain, as in the examples above.
Knowing and understanding what is behind or underneath these “triggers” means our emotional responses are easier to manage and contain. This is one way counselling can help you build emotional resilience.
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About Gary Baker
I am an experienced integrative counsellor and an accredited member of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy. I currently work with individuals and couples on a broad range of presenting issues. Of particular interest is developing the relationship we have with ourselves to be more compassionate, nurturing and supportive.