Being a therapist is a funny thing. There aren’t too many professions that require such deep soul-searching on the part of the professional and the consumer. Yet, for therapists, this kind of inward seeking is necessary to make sure that we don’t spill our own “stuff” onto our clients.
Possibly, one of the most challenging parts of being a therapist is figuring out how to tell if you are doing a good job or not.
When I was in graduate school, I did my thesis on the effect that the media has on women’s self-esteem. Even back then, which was (ahem), a few years ago, we knew that fashion magazines, movies, and tv-shows were no friends to women’s self-image. Still, I wanted to scientifically prove that looking at media images would negatively affect the way that women saw themselves, and my research did just that.
People often ask me what I mean when I say I’m a “Psychospiritual Therapist,” and I can’t blame them. Besides being a mouthful, the term psychospiritual tends to bring up all manner of metaphors, from fire and brimstone to new-age charlatans. So, I figured I would dedicate a post to describing what psychospiritual therapy really is, and why I believe it works.
First, let’s talk therapeutic frameworks, in general. I remember being in graduate school, learning about all of the different styles of therapy, and having a professor that incessantly repeated the phrase, “You have to have a framework.
Music. It’s that rhapsody of sound that can work all manner of miracles. From increasing focus and learning potential, to changing the neurotransmitters in our brains, music has amazing power and reach. Interestingly, music has varying effects on the physicality of those who play it, vs. those who listen to it, but, for now, let’s focus on ourselves as listeners.
If you’ve ever used music to soothe a baby to sleep, or calm a cat before a vet visit (yes, seriously), you know how beneficial it can be.
The other day, I was musing aloud about what my next blog-post topic should be, when my daughter said, “Maybe you should talk about the importance of feeling your feelings.”
Pretty insightful for a seven-year-old!
But, since I always need to put my own spin on things, I’m going to talk about the one feeling that you don’t have to feel: GUILT.
Well, let me clarify. Guilt does have a purpose, if you are considering committing a homicide, for example.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, Anxiety Disorders affect 18.1 % of the population, or nearly 40 million adults between the ages of 18 and 54. Yet, despite this high number, many people with anxiety still feel totally alone.
Part of the reason for this is that anxiety tells us not to talk about her! She is the voice that says:
You are not good enough You can’t tell anyone what you are feeling You are a bad friend You aren’t good at your job You are a horrible mother You are terrible at sports You are a fraud Nobody likes you You will never fit in And the list goes on.
If you are like most people, you’ve experienced bouts of anxiety over everyday things: Being late for work; Whether or not to eat the last egg roll when you are out with friends, etc. But, if you have been following the latest deeds of President Trump, you may find that your anxiety has spiked to unmanageable levels. If that’s the case, trust me, you are not alone. In fact, over the summer, over 3000 therapists, signed a manifesto, documenting the increased fear, anxiety, and insecurity that their patients were feeling in relation to Trump’s campaign.
I grew up with a narcissistic mother, so I know a thing or two about toxic relationships. When someone who is supposed to love and support you is incapable of feeling genuine love toward you, you quickly learn how to make yourself smaller and less threatening. You turn out your own inner light, so it won’t offend her, or make her jealous. The last thing that you want to do is cause a narcissistic injury, because you know that doing so will cause a flurry of negativity to come your way.