Pains and Benefits of Psychotherapy

Usually people come to therapy with some level of despair and lack of hope. Or they come with a certain awareness and discomfort of being involved in compulsive and obsessive behaviors that can put their life at risk.

I’d like to include clients suffering from eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia, clients with addictions and clients involved in repetitive surgical procedures, desperately looking for some meaning in life.

The obsessive behavior is an attempt to regulate an uncomfortable emotional state; to compensate for needs that have never been filled, such as the need to be loved, the need to be important, the need to be seen, or to be accepted.

These are basic needs present in every child. And if the parents or caretakers cannot provide the fulfillment of these needs, the child makes decisions to justify the absence of those feelings, such as, I’m not lovable, I’m not important, I’m bad…
And these are the people turning to therapy later in life, with a huge sense of “nobody loves me”, “I cannot do anything” etc.

Consequently they unconsciously decide:
“If I focus my attention on my body, on my appearance…I will not see my real needs and then I will avoid the pain.”
“If I work extremely hard…I don’t see the emptiness of my marriage and I will not feel bad.”

Many times people come to therapy when an external situation triggers a discomfort in the self, leading to the sense of “Something is wrong with me”. There is a disruption of the stability to function socially and emotionally. And this can result in anxiety, sleep problems, shortness of breath, heart beating out of the chest, physical pain and constant negative thoughts, including destructive ideation.

Psychotherapy will help these people make contact with themselves, with those primary needs that were neglected. Psychotherapy will help them to experience the feelings that could never be exposed before with the protection of a secure and stable therapeutic relationship.

Therapy will empower the client to live with spontaneity, intimacy with self and others and to be autonomous. Being able to make his or her own choices without the influence of the emotional pain from past experiences.

Therefore changing old patterns of behaviors to new ones with the self’s permission to be who they really are, having more healthy alternatives to fill the present needs, as a positive result of psychotherapy

Psychotherapy ends when the client gets a deep feeling of being ok with self, others and the world, no matter what happens.
These changes will be seen naturally through the client’s interaction with self and others.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Richmond TW9
Written by Dr Ruth Birkebaek, Relational Integrative Psychotherapy, Transactional Analysis
Richmond TW9

I am a medical Doctor, a UKCP reg. Psychotherapist, a Certified Integrative Psychotherapist trainer & supervisor, a Certified Transactional Analyst - PTSTA, working with couples, individuals and groups.I have a special focus on psychosomatic illness, on how the emotions can affect your body. And...


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