Mental health issues are constantly in the news. We are suffering from relational problems, depression, anxiety, eating disorders and so on. These ‘disorders’ or other mental health diagnoses are often stem from untreated traumas in our life. Our government and the media only seem to know about one way of treating these life challenging issues and that is with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. The mental health plan only supports cognitive based treatments. While CBT and other cognitive based treatment are very useful, often powerful, they do not work for everyone and for all issues, especially not for trauma. Sadly psycho-dynamic psychotherapies, body based or attachment focused psychotherapies are not supported or promoted in Australia.
But we are not just our cognition or behaviors. We are our bodies, nervous systems, our souls and our relationships with other humans and nature. When we become fragmented it is not just our thoughts that need to change so we can change our behaviour. We need support to integrate and grow so we can live in peace with ourselves, others and the planet.
We know this now from the discipline called Interpersonal Neurobiology and countless research of different psychotherapeutic models. I wrote before about the self-perpetuating monopoly of CBT in our country, you can read about it here.
I included here some short and some longer videos from experts of the field of psychotherapy. If you are struggling please do your research and find a therapist who you feel safe with, who has the qualifications and expertise and can work in ways that feels right for you.
In my practice many clients walk through my door looking for support with their relational issues. As a trauma and attachment specialist I often imagine what their life was like at the start? Who was around, how did they learn how to relate, how did they learn who they are?
When we are born our personal selves develop through the relationships we have with our primary caregivers and via the reflections of our family and other community members. Our brains wire via thousands of small interactions of facial, vocal and feeling communications. If we have predictable, reliable and safe caregivers who attend to our physical and emotional needs we may develop secure, safe attachment. Later in life, relating to people and developing safe, mutually supportive and nurturing relationships may not be an issue if we were fortunate to have such a smooth start.
More often than not, this is not the case. We all have less then nurturing experiences as we grow up. Even ‘small’ things like mum having a hard time becoming a new parent or being busy with the other kids or working long hours can affect this developmental relational dynamic. Of course, bad things like trauma and neglect, divorce, lack of resources and abuse also happens. The spectrum of these experiences is vast and unique but each can affect the way we relate in our adult life and create personal challenges.
Psychotherapy is the perfect place to rewire our brains from the impacts of such experiences. Alongside a therapist you trust and feel safe with, you can discover the best version of yourself. Regular, weekly sessions can help you to develop the relational capacity that you yearn for and support you in understanding why you feel the way you do. The reflection of a caring, nurturing therapist empowers you to learn how valuable you are, as well as empowering you with knowledge of practical skills and strategies to create healthy and fulfilling relationships.
In the age of loneliness when we are more connected through machines than people it is important to have a space and practice of deep connection. Psychotherapy helps fulfill this intrinsic human need. We are neurobiologically wired for meaningful, deep connections. Our modern lifestyles do not support this so looking for it in other ways, such as weekly therapy, is vital for our well-being.
And trust me, you are worth it!