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Unlocking anxieties through relationship therapy

Lets face it, we all have our anxieties, however for some, our experience in past relationships has taught us to be more anxious in the present than is healthy. We can manifest this in stress, being paranoid about the world and hyper critical of ourselves, or project it onto those closest to us in reactions such as anger or jealousy.

If anxiousness is you, your therapist will probably be asking 'is your life one in which being this anxiousness is a natural, healthy response'? For people in the armed forces, or front line emergency services, the answer might be yes and that might be okay - for a while.

There may be other aspects of your life in the present that explain why you would be anxious. However, often we conclude that the present is actually fine, thank you, then look to the past and the beliefs we have about ourselves and our lives. These can often lead us into unconscious patterns of behaviour in which we become more and more anxious. An example might be a belief from childhood that no one will help us with. With this belief, we might never ask for help, hence never discover that people are ready to help us and that the belief is unfounded.

Your relationship therapist can be particularly helpful here. As with the example above, most of these patterns are enacted in relationships with other people. So firstly, we will ask if the belief is true (different from, ‘has it been our experience’), and assuming we consider it might be false, we go through a period of experimentation where you tune the way you ask for help so it is at its most potent, then try it out. This combination of thinking and action is where therapy can be its most powerful and usually the offers of help come more or less reliably flooding in.

Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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London SW19 & E14

Written by Couples counselling specialist Christopher MacGovern

London SW19 & E14

Christopher MacGovern is a specialist couples and relationship psychotherapist offering services in Wimbledon and Canary Wharf.

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