In over 2 decades of practice as a Counsellor and Psychotherapist I have encountered many ways people experience what they all call anxiety, or stress. Yet the terms are often used to describe both the state of being and the interactive element or context that the person is experiencing. Often the struggle is worse when people are unable to see the way in which the qualities of the environment, past or present is impacting them. Sometimes they also need to reveal the ways in which they experience the anxiety or stress from within may be impacting the ways they are interacting with their environment. Stress responses can be normal and helpful, or severe, stuck and maladaptive. Trauma responses deeply rooted in our survival system are often the most severe and require the most caution.
At our mental health clinic we work collaboratively, we seek supervision or consultation and continue to train on an ongoing basis in evidence based practices for effective therapy. We know that a good therapist needs to help differentiate and understand the person and their environments, co-creating goals and being clear about the process and pace for change. We talk about therapy with our clients and measure progress. We know the value of being genuine, real and warm and we do not hide who we are as human beings because trust in therapy also involves trusting the therapist.
Sometimes clients are impatient about change because they are suffering. If stress or anxiety problems are recent and external, and/or a person has good coping and motivation, therapy can help in a short time. However, moving too quickly without being informed about trauma, a therapist can cause, literally, a flood – much like melting an iceberg. The older and deeper the learning is, the more frozen patterns are and the more risk is involved. Our therapists working with anxiety are trauma informed, assessing the nature and the nurture of the client and their concerns. What happened, when, what are the resources, what are the supports in their environments, how can we chip away at old stuck things in a way that is controlled and empowering and reduces risk of harm? We work in psychotherapy with caution and warmth to the help illuminate what is stored in the ice blocks of the mind and body, to melt down patterned responses that can be strong and unrelenting and create new responses that are more helpful, and fluid.
Sometimes its just a little stormy weather, and sometimes the issues clients bring to therapy are the tip of the iceberg. Whether a person wants short or long-term therapy, we meet clients where they are at and agree on a plan that works with their needs. Nobody needs to feel alone and stuck. Effective psychotherapy helps whether short or long term. Reach out.