If we suffered trauma as small children, often the only way we could defend ourselves against abusive people or situations was to block them from our awareness: we tense our muscles, hold our breath and block out our surroundings.
Often as adults, we deal with threatening situations by using the defenses we created in childhood. This leaves us with very little self awareness; we’re out of touch with our feelings and may easily be provoked to anger, jealousy or feelings of impotence. In this way, we unconsciously go on creating more problems because we don’t know any other behaviour. So we need to learn new ways of dealing with emotional pain; to release these fearful defenses and resolve the painful feelings that underlie them.
But frequently we’re not even AWARE that we keep ourselves defended and shut off in this way. It has become a habitual, repetitive response that we take for granted. All these unconscious defenses require an enormous amount of energy to keep them in place – energy that is drained out of our daily lives.
Our bodies were never designed to continuously hold tension and withstand stress; this can eventually lead to physical illness.
The way to resolve unwanted behaviour like sudden uncontrolled anger, jealousy or despair, is to become CONSCIOUS of what causes it; what drives us to respond in ways which we later regret.
Lasting change can only come about when we become aware of and then release the root cause of our problems. The emotional support and dynamic techniques of psychotherapy can help to uncover what needs to be resolved and healed. Then we can live our lives more fully and joyously.
For more insights in to the benefits of psychotherapy and counselling, read my articles on healing relationships.