Dayna Sharp, LCSW
Why Relationships Matter in Therapy (Even if you're not in couples counseling)
We are all social beings by our very nature. We grow as children in relationship with our caregivers. Based on those earliest experiences, we learn what relationship feels like, what we can expect from others, and how (if) we might be seen or understood.
Many times our "symptoms" of anxiety, depression or anger are a part of our relational patterns. If we don't feel safe in relationship to other people, we naturally will feel scared, tense, sad or angry. And even if we learn to compensate, maybe hide parts of ourselves, or compensate in strategic ways so that we can feel safe in relationships, we might still experience symptoms--because we can't be who we are and be loved for it.
How can Therapy Help?
Of course, therapy can be a place where you can "get to know" your symptoms, so that you can tolerate and cope with the feelings. So they become less debilitating.
But therapy is also a place to explore your relational patterns, especially in relationships to the experience of symptoms and the experience of wellness. Are there certain people that bring out those symptoms? Are there certain people that bring out a feeling of safety and acceptance? What is it about those people, those relationships?
You can explore your childhood relationship experiences. What did you learn about relationships? What did you learn to expect from others? Did you feel seen, heard, accepted and loved for who you were? What did you learn about yourself?
An important part of therapy is exploring the relationship between you and your therapist. Sometimes the relationship feels really great--safe, supportive, a place where you really feel understood. There might also be times where you feel unheard, or overstepped. While these moments might feel painful, it can be really important to talk about them. They can actually be great opportunities to learn about what specifically gets in the way of feeling connected to another, how you react to feeling together or disconnected, and how to repair.
Of course, understanding your relational needs and experiencing the possibility that relationships can be a safe, satisfying place to be is really an opportunity to strengthen your own relationship with yourself.
In therapy, you can learn and experience that relationships matter. And that you matter too.
Call Creating Space Counseling and Wellness today to schedule an appointment.