Participating in a semi-structured process of self-discovery with a view to effecting meaningful change in your life is bound to raise at least some challenging ideas.
Change is only possible through confronting entrenched attitudes, beliefs and behaviours that are keeping you stuck.
If you are worried about whether you can “handle the ‘truth’”, remember that there is no one “truth”.
You are an intelligent, self-directed person whom others probably see as being a proactive and effective problem-solver. If you have something stuck in the spokes of your wheel of life, it is not there for want of trying to get rid of it. In that case, as with any gnarly issue that needs unknotting, it is probably time to bring on the “big guns”.
Why speak with a psychologist?
The idea of engaging in a professional psychological coaching/mentoring/treatment service is to have a trusted and skilled guide assist you in confronting those aspects of yourself and your life that are most likely getting in your way.
My job, as a Clinical Psychologist, is to guide you through the process of developing heightened awareness and enhanced skills in the areas most relevant to helping you deal with the issues differently.
Working with me offers you a safe place to try out new ideas and versions of yourself because I provide a sounding board and hold up a mirror, to offer new ideas and perspectives to help you manage your situation differently.
There is no judgment, shaming, or blaming involved in the unconditionally constructive process I provide to my clients.
What if I’m still worried?
With this in mind, it is also fair to say most of us do not enjoy the experience of exploring our perceived flaws and failures. In fact, our brain-mind system is designed to focus on identifying and mitigating perceived threats in our environment.
In our neurobiological “reality”, negative self-perceptions can act as a perceived threat, thereby activating the sympathetic nervous system which is designed to keep us safe. Effectively, receiving harsh feedback could have a similar physiological impact on our system as would encountering a sabre tooth tiger in our more primitive days.
In the distant past, this looked like fight/flight/freeze responses to the lurking danger.
In the therapy room, this commonly takes the alternative form of the client being highly and rigidly self-critical, persistently holding themselves to unrealistic high standards, focusing on perceived set-backs and failures, and ignoring or minimising their achievements and successes. These factors may negatively skew your perceptions of progress in therapy, affecting your ability to commit and persist through the more difficult parts.
But what if the experience of going through this awkward and complex landscape is exactly what you need to do in order to forge new life skills?
Sometimes active participation in therapy simply means showing up when it’s confronting and engaging with material that challenges your world view. It is not always about making sweeping changes and adding more to you “to do” list. It is possible that just by learning how to be more tolerant of feeling uncomfortable or distressed, you may find the level of personal comfort and psychological ease that you seek.
In a way, you might start to “future proof” yourself from worries about your future well-being, because your system is reset to understand how to repair and restore functioning quickly and efficiently when confronting the inevitable joys and sorrows of a well-lived life.