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How do I break the pattern?


Coherence therapy – seeing symptoms differently


Many people come to counselling with an issue they want to resolve e.g.


“I keep getting angry with my partner and I can’t seem to stop myself ...”

“I’m off work sick because I started getting panic attacks…”

“I feel anxious when other people try to do things, I’d rather do them myself…”

I’ve got this underlying anxiety all the time, its just how I am, can you help?”


The prevailing aim in our culture is to find strategies for managing symptoms e.g ‘get rid of the anger’ by calming down, or ‘manage the anxiety using breathing exercises’ or ‘make lists and chunk things down so you can stop procrastinating’. But what if your anger /anxiety/procrastination/etc. was serving a good purpose? What if that symptom was compellingly necessary and was there to protect you from something worse happening? This is quite a different way of looking at things.


Coherence therapy is based on the idea that we unconsciously respond in these ways for good reason – moods, emotions, behaviours are produced coherently based on emotional learnings that happened in the past. The aim of coherence therapy is to find the original emotional learning and create a new experience so that the person experiences a realisation that their original unconscious map for how to act in the world is no longer necessary.


Putting it in context


Here’s a fictional example: In the past as a child you come to an emotional conclusion e.g. ‘mum and dad make it very clear they don’t want me to speak up, so I’ll keep quiet and good’. Wind forward to today and the client comes into counselling saying they have panic attacks when they have to speak in meetings. The adult client has no idea that the emotional learning formed in the past makes it coherently necessary to have a panic attack when invited to speak up in a meeting.


By revealing and being with emotional learnings in an experiential way, it is possible for these original maps to change and for the pattern to dissolve away. For instance, the person who didn’t want to speak up in meetings, through experiential methods used in coherence therapy can come to realise that they do have a voice in the adult world – they can speak up and their original map shifts.


Would you like to find out what might be the patterns driving you to respond in a way that seems maladaptive but is actually entirely coherent? I work in this way and would welcome exploring emotional learnings together.


The psychological transformation that takes place in this kind of therapy is based on the neuroscience of memory reconsolidation. Find out more below!


Find out more about coherence therapy here:

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