People come into therapy for all sorts of reasons. You may feel lonely, sad, depressed, anxious, afraid, stressed, angry, confused, bereaved or lost. Perhaps you have an unsatisfactory love life and want to work out why you always attract the wrong person. Maybe you’re sick of how other people treat you, but you have no idea how to behave differently. Or you might want more meaning in your life but don’t know where to start.
Coming into therapy is a decision that will take you on a journey through your thoughts, feelings, worries, hopes and desires. Therapy can help you come to terms with difficulties in your life, identify strategies to support you in the day-to-day, and can lead you to a deeper understanding of yourself and your place in the world.
Here are some of the signs you might be ready:
You feel stuck
Do you ever feel like you’re stuck in a loop, repeating the same behaviours and thinking the same thoughts – and then questioning why you’ve ended up here yet again? Being in therapy can help you explore patterns from the past that may be playing out in the present. It can help reveal your blind spots so you can make more conscious decisions in the here and now, rather than automatically going into your default setting. Therapy can help you pay attention to those patterns – and help to shift them so you can move forward in your life.
You’re tired of being alone
You may be on your own, without a social network, and need to talk to someone, or perhaps you have friends and a full social life and yet feel empty inside. You may have tried and failed at relationships and wonder what you’re doing wrong. If you’re tired of feeling lonely and alone then therapy can help you feel supported, heard, acknowledged and understood.
You want to know the real you
Tired of being the person other people want you to be? Bored of the job you fell into? Wondering why you feel there is something missing from your life, but can’t identify what? We can become conditioned by so many factors in life – family, friends, school, work, culture, media – that we can lose track of who we really are. Perhaps you were never allowed to be yourself as a child, and you have carried on exhibiting behaviours that would get you love and attention. Therapy can help you peel away the layers that have covered the real you for years – allowing a truer, more authentic you to emerge.
You’re “not yourself”
Have you noticed that you’re flying off the handle more than you used to, or crying at the slightest provocation? Or maybe your eating or sleeping patterns have changed? Perhaps you’re withdrawing from family and friends, you’ve stopped doing activities that you normally enjoy or you’re finding it hard to laugh these days. You might be experiencing long periods of intense sadness, anger, or anxiety. It might then be time to talk to someone so that we can unpack what is below the surface. I am trained to help you identify the reasons behind these feelings, and give you the tools to tackle them.
You may have experienced trauma
You may know that you have experienced trauma in your past but then again, you may not consider events in your life to have been ‘traumatic’. (see here for a definition) However you might notice that weeks, months, or years later your life still feels like it is being impacted in some way. In counselling, you have a unique space in which to process what has happened in a gentle and non-judgemental way.
You see yourself as not good enough
Do you notice how you feel about yourself in the world, for example how you feel when you look at Facebook or Instagram, or magazines or TV programmes? How do you view yourself in comparison to your friends? The world we live in constantly tells what we should look like, how we should act, and what a ‘good life’ should be. If you feel that you are critical of yourself and it is impacting on your life, or if you feel misunderstood or not listened to or that you’re not being ‘authentically you’, then it might be a time to step into counselling. I am trained to get to know you, and help identify what is stopping you from feeling good about yourself. Together we can come towards critical voices and find out what they are trying to protect you from.
You can’t seem to stop whatever it is…
We all find comfort in things that make us feel better - binge watching Netflix, scrolling through facebook, eating chocolate… but do you feel like you are doing ‘whatever it is’ so much that you are disconnecting from life? Perhaps you want to address this and start living in a more real way. It could be anything really, but they all perform the same role – to numb ourselves from difficult emotions. If you feel ready to face up to your relationship with food, gaming, mobile phones, alcohol, drugs, shopping, destructive relationships, self-harming, whatever it may be, then get in touch. It can be hard to control this behaviour until you understand what’s triggering it, but I can help you befriend the parts of you that are protecting you from difficult emotions and come towards what is really affecting you so that you can begin to live a life that is more in the present.