When we are born, science now says, we are an outcome of not just our genetic material, but also our in-utero experience. Our fetal-time engagement with life, whether soothing or disruptive, could have arisen from our mother’s state of mind and body. Our first taste of cortisol (the stress hormone) may come via the placenta; our second at our time of arrival based on the reception from our caregivers.
Relational stress in our adult life then becomes a reflection of all that went before. We are molded in life even before we become conscious of it. Epigenetics infers that our environment changes the way our DNA expresses.
Is all of the above enough reason to see a therapist? Absolutely!
Resolution Via Therapy
Let’s consider the different reasons a client seeks and finds recovery via therapy. Sadly, it’s the last bastion of help. My wish is that people find it sooner than later and learn to have more fulfilling relationships.
Applicable to All Ages
We are never too old for therapy, nor too young. Whether an adolescent, introduced to therapy by caregivers or a 50-year-old struggling to make sense of an embittered past and stumbling upon help; both types benefit from the understanding of a skilled therapist. The reason being brain cells are plastic and therefore can improve/modify cognitive function at any age.
The Mess in Emotions
Emotions are messy most people might agree. And that’s because as children we couldn’t develop healthy ways to encounter and integrate them, as a natural consequence of our life experiences. As adults we shun those emotions we have little practice of handling. We favor those that make us feel safe.
The Rise of Emotions
The subconscious doesn’t rest easy when there are all these unexpressed emotions stuffing its underbelly. For a long time though, the subconscious plays along with our relational patterns. In time however, it evicts what’s reprehensible to it.
The Battle With Emotions
The brain is a relational organ. It has neural pathways carved inside that pertain to our relationship with self, with others, and in general with the world. And we, without much thought, strengthen these pathways by working within unconscious relationship patterns. Until the time these very patterns cause us to fall into a relationship crises such as a breakup or a divorce.
Choosing Healthier Emotions
We can never be truly free individuals (free from stress and illness) until we actually become free. Till the time we only talk about wanting to be free, we haven’t yet befriended change. When we start to think, emote and behave differently only then do our neural pathways change to include new ones. And we are free to make new choices.
The ‘Unbearableness’ of Emotions
Previously we called it short-term gratification, when we could not wait another second, to satisfy our needs in the present moment. Now, we call it intolerance. We are intolerant of the experience we are having and want it to be anything but what it is. The experience could include a relationship with a person, a thing, or/and a situation. Our intolerance levels make us sick, in the mind and the body, and often enough in the spirit.
From Attachment Arises Emotions
We develop an attachment style from the time we get attached at birth to our primary caregivers. Humans thrive on attachment. Yet, our biggest misses, messes and losses are because of this ingrained pattern of relating to other humans. Should we stop to evaluate why our relationships suck, if not all times, sometimes, we would identify our style that needs a revamp?
All said and done, a few therapeutic relationships fail and a lot survive the negotiated pathways of trauma and healing, in a client. When a client sticks around for the time it takes new established neural pathways to form steady grooves, a lot of good can happen. Here’s what change can follow the directives of safe intervention.
Becoming tolerant of the whims of our life plan. Is changing our attitude towards suffering.
Having healthy self-reliance. Is knowing when to seek help.
Building inner forces of resilience. Is surfing everyday storms successfully.
Choosing relationships that strengthen intimacy. Is sharing vulnerable moments with significant others.
Trust is a multifaceted feeling. Is letting others in to share our innermost space.
Choosing a work environment to sustain daily wellbeing. Is knowing the importance of self-care.
Healing the trauma that comes from impaired attachment to caregivers. Is learning to relate to self, others, and the world differently.