When it comes to long-term, sustainable change, therapy is one of the most effective forms of treatment. In part, because you no longer have to navigate the darkness alone. The therapy relationship is one of the most important factors for change. Yes, even more than specific modalities at times and there is ample evidence to support this.
As humans, we have evolved to withstand life’s inherent traumas through interdependency. Not codependency. Interdependency. We thrive, as humans, when we can rely on and support others. And we learn how to support ourselves and others through the kind of support we’ve received.
In an ideal world we would feel all our feelings and let those feelings guide us in a regulated and attuned manner. This is what healthy functioning looks like (despite cultural norms around emotions).
However, we get stuck when we are left alone with unbearable emotions. This can lead to mental health concerns like depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and the like. When left alone with unbearable emotions, we adapt in ways that may serve us in the moment, but may not be the best in the long run. For example, we may avoid feelings altogether, pick fights with our partners, become a workaholic, turn toward alcohol or other substances, etc. You get the picture.
In therapy, we create a relationship (a unique one at that!) to help you bring those feelings up to be safely experienced and now responded to in the way(s) you needed before. With compassion, empathy, sincere belief, and support. This is how we release the past and free ourselves from having to “manage” all the freaking time.
— Natalia Amari, Clinical Social Worker in Austin, TX