Piecing the puzzle together - where does one start with seeking therapeutic guidance?
When we understand our personal health factors, we can begin to put those missing pieces together. We often examine areas of our lives and ask ourselves: how could I be healthier, am I psychologically and physically fit, am I socially able and is this the right environment for my health?
However, many of our challenges are situational which affects other areas of our lives if not addressed effectively. It is important to understand the root-cause of our challenges to some degree. For instance, before seeking therapy we may want to consider if the problem is within our control or out of our control. When situations are within our control to solve we can look for ways to find solutions to our problems, often drawing on problem solving tools and techniques. We can often find these problem-solving tools published widely on the internet using keywords including problem solving, management skills, action learning and leadership tools. Adopting problem solving skills reduces our external and internal stressors. However, when a problem is out of our control to solve, this should be the point in which seeking emotional support and engaging with a therapist can be highly beneficial. Equally, prayer, dance, exercise and healthy eating can be just as useful in decreasing our internal stressors.
Once we work out what path to take it is then possible consider which therapies are most suited to our needs or desires. There are many therapies, but it is about getting the therapy that is right for us. It is also important that we build a good rapport with our therapists, because research shows that good rapport can beneficially aid the therapeutic process. Returning to my earlier points on dealing with situations both in and out of our control; it is useful to explain that if we are dealing with a situation which is out of our control to change, then opting for a therapy providing coping mechanisms to improve our thought processes, may be a good place to start.
Cognitive behavioural therapy
CBT is often used to help people that are in situations out of their control. CBT helps to create an awareness of how thoughts, attitudes and beliefs affect the way we feel and act and provides us with ways to cope when dealing with problematic situations. It can be said that CBT helps us to tackle problems on a conscious level - because of our increased awareness to improve our thought processes.
Hypnotherapy is also often used to tackle thought processes on a sub-conscious level, bringing the two minds together, using relaxing positive suggestion to help people move past their anxieties or fears. Hypnotherapy is especially useful for several reasons including when we have: really hit peak stress, really struggled to concentrate and really struggled to sleep. More generally hypnotherapy can be used for a host of symptoms including breaking habits, limiting OCD behaviour and lessening the effects of post-traumatic stress and trauma. It may not be a surprise to know that many dentists, clinicians, other types of therapists and cabin crew use similar relaxation techniques to help their customers to feel informed, safe and calm.
Aside from therapy, sharing positive experiences and engaging positively in the workforce and social environment is the first step to reducing stress - termed as "positive conversations", which leads to positive thinking that has been scientifically proven by neuroscientists. It makes sense that when we think of happy thoughts, we focus less on our negative thoughts, symptoms and stressors. Therefore, having positive conversations with friends, associates, family and colleagues can really help to reduce our stress by keeping us in a happy frame of mind. A technique often used in CBT is one that helps us to see things from a different perspective. Often seeing things from a different angle can shape the way we view our own challenges. It might be reassuring to know that many lessons can only be learned in a storm: therefore, the challenges faced and solved either personally or via therapy can help us to improve our problem-solving capabilities which is an invaluable life skill.
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