Psychotherapist Sydney: Life can be challenging
Dr. Thomas Downey -B.SC., M.B.B.S., M.MED. (PSYCHOTHERAPY), F.A.C.PSYCH.MED. Get in Contact — 0418 747 741
I’m reminded that “A knight in shining armour is a man who has never had his metal truly tested”.
It is only through being tested that we can become fully galvanised.
But what happens to us if the pressure is greater than our resilience?
In simple terms we buckle to the stress … and some of us may even break.
In my counselling and psychotherapy work I am contacted by people who are in this state of tension. As a consequence I regularly observe that a client will either rush for down the corridor in an urgent state or, conversely, walks solemnly as if to the gallows.
Regardless of their entry once seated they can pour out a myriad of feelings: Anger, sadness, bewilderment, resentment, unfairness, loneliness, anxiety, depression, trepidation, lust, suspicion and so, so many more. Welcome to the human condition.
The triggering events themselves may be either acute or chronic: including relationship challenges e.g. separation, divorce, death. Also, given our current economic climate, ﬁnancial disruptions and employment uncertainty are provocative.
However, the most common reason most people seek my assistance is for a more pervasive, chronic feeling of seemingly unidentiﬁed low self regard which manifests as self sabotage.
This can affect either relationships or work.
Most clients are insightful enough to have noticed their unhelpful self destructive pattern.
Many come because their “were wheels are spinning” as they observe endless rounds of seemingly unnecessary procrastination. They feel the distress of committing to themselves the “not next time”, “never again” or “I’ll start earlier and be more organised” yet, time after time, the pattern is constant and so is the variable: Themselves.
This rub between what seems “logical” and, therefore, achievable and failing is painful and bewildering to the individual.
What is lost to them is that this is not about “logic”. This is not about “intellect”. This is about some deeply seated, unhelpful, but familiar need to maintain a feeling state of being highly aroused, charged and anxious.
It is from another time and place; from an event most often childhood. A distressing feeling which was, and has remained, un-ameliorated. The person doesn’t understand and often their family, friends and employers look on feeling equally helpless and confused. For the concerned observers it is painful to watch people they love or are fond of struggle and fall short often, if not always.
And so, welcome to my ofﬁce. Clients are usually surprised to learn that the answer their current situation lies in history.
They protest “but that was a long time ago” and “I’m an adult now”. Yes, both true, but explain that to a nervous system which unfortunately has been wired to unconsciously seek out and maintain situations which will perpetuate such high levels of anxiety and discomfort.
Simply stated these clients do not have an embodied sense of safety and positive self worth. Many seem to have become successful almost in spite of their best attempts to self defeat. They hold themselves as if they have to wear armour. They see the world as confusing. They feel fraudulent to any praise – perhaps even seeing it as suspicious.
What does a person who is not use to praise do with a compliment? Usually they discount the comment and /or the messenger. Both sad outcomes really. These people are not use to the notion of win/win: One wins because they feel delighted to be able to pass on a sincere compliment and the other wins by virtue of receiving and allow themselves to feel the validation and sense of elevation.
It is almost universal to ﬁnd a disconnect between the child and the caregivers and/or the environment of childhood. The child in actuality and/or in perception does not embody a deep and knowing sense of safety and comfort. This is my work. To provide a sense of consistency and respect for the individual. A place where their feelings and experiences are validated – perhaps for their ﬁrst time.
I help to provide an environment in which a sense of safety can develop and from that state the client can become, at their own rate, curious and explore the origins of these (mis)perceptions.
Although not necessarily comfortable, the journey through the past can be elucidating and allows for an informed decision. The client can wonder “Is this statement I tell myself true and valid?” and “Does it work for me in 2015?”
If the answer is “yes” then ﬁne and simply continue on, but with the “No” thoughts we must work to deconstruct and replace those with a more appropriate and helpful response.
It is hard work. Old wounds may need to be probed.
I often use the metaphor of an abscess for this situation. The client comes in with the condition – (talking about it does not create it – it simply acknowledges what which already exists).
An abscess can be superﬁcial or deep. The deeper ones can perplex doctors as well as patients. Regardless, both are toxic. They are tender, encapsulated, roblox robux hack growing and discharging toxins throughout the entire system. They are too dangerous to ignore.
Although lancing an abscess asks for a sudden increase in pain through puncturing the tender, inﬂamed and stretched skin and capsule the throbbing relief as the pressure is released is welcomed (ultimately). Through being thorough in the process and ensuring all the pus oozes out then the tissue can naturally heal. The condition and the pain can be past tense.
This is the work I do with my clients who, once the wound has healed, has no need to seek out unhelpful and provocative scenarios including procrastination. With a new wiring which seeks out a path of more grace and ease the client can travel forward unencumbered by self defeating attitudes. Resulting in healthier interpersonal situations in life: be it work colleagues, friends, family and/ or lovers.
People transform in to more healthy, open and curious beings.
Seriously, I have witnessed many a phoenix soaring high from the ashes.
Maybe I can help you too?