Three Things That Prevent You From Getting The Best Out of Psychotherapy

By Dr. Pradeep K. Chadha MBBS. DCP. DPM. PG Diploma Psychotherapy Studies on January 24, 2018

John came to my office in a distraught state. He had been feeling angry over last many years. He had been diagnosed with having depression at one stage, bipolar affective disorder another time and psychotic another time. Having spent time in psychiatric hospitals and even treated with Electro Convulsive Therapy (ECT )he felt he had no recourse to his “mental health problems”.  I was curious. It would be a challenge to help this person. After doing psychotherapy for about six months using breathing and imagery only, he became well enough to get and hold on to a job. Five years later, his “mental health problems” are behind him. 

Imelda was full of fear when she arrived initially in my office. She needed help for anxiety. She lived alone. Her fears had stemmed from her upbringing when she had felt fearful about almost everything. Her mother had also been an anxious individual. She had successfully but unknowingly made her daughter so fearful that she would clam up on feeling fear. Imelda had developed the “fear of fear’. She took a long time to overcome it. 

What was different between these two people? Here are three things that I have observed people lack, when they come for counseling or psychotherapy that prevent them from making a fast, good recovery.

1.Lack of support or living alone:

One of the factors that affect the recovery of a person in therapy is the presence or absence of close supportive relationships. In the above case of Imelda, she also did not have a close family member with her. Sharing one’s emotional experiences with a loved one provides a lot of help in healing emotional pain, even when you are undergoing therapy. 

2.Leading a busy life:

Some people take to a psychotherapeutic process like they are taking on a chore. They do not give themselves time to take proper rest as life is out of gear. As stresses mount, they get less and less time for themselves. When someone goes through surgery for example, they need to rest physically and sleep properly in order to heal the body. Emotional healing also needs same kind of rest and sleep. When a person goes through a psychotherapeutic process they need to have rest and sleep to heal themselves. If they don’t, they are unable to get the best out of psychotherapy. They usually end up complaining that psychotherapy does not work.

3.“Fear of fear”

Fear of feeling fear is one of the main stumbling blocks in the psychotherapeutic process. Exposure therapy works because a person allows themselves to face their fears. They allow themselves to “feel” the fear and the nervous system reaches the peak experience. This starts the relaxation process and the person feels better. Fear of feeling the fear is sometimes difficult to overcome. It may worsen the situation rather than make things better, especially when one is supposed to face it. In the above story of John, he had given himself permission to feel the fear. He recovered fast despite having a difficult background. Imelda had the fear of fear. She took a long time to overcome it. So it took her a long time to get the best out of psychotherapy. 

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Featured Practitioner: Dr. Pradeep K. Chadha

Other Practitioners: Psychotherapy Dublin 15

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