How therapy helps in making life decisions.
Sometimes therapy is like Gilligan’s Island with your family and a therapist. And true to the model of the show, each family has its characters, its roles and identifying them is part of the process. Sometimes we carry our roles over from our family experiences and they get re-enacted in individual-therapy or group-therapy. In group-therapy these roles and their associated patterns of behavior can be identified through psychodynamic activities, such as family sculptures, writing, games, and assignments. For individual-therapy a slightly different method is used, the therapist becomes many people to the client as the client works out unresolved issues.
These roles often interfere with our lives causing us fear, guilt, shame, and anxiety. And like Gilligan’s Island, sometimes there’s no place to go that you can get away from your family, their roles, or the role you play. Everyone needs a little adventure to affirm the choices they make, reassure their vitality, and validate their emotional and social responses in life. Therapy can help bring up the ambivalence we feel when one of our basic psychological needs is activated:
- the need for safety,
- the need to belong,
- the need for emotional/somatic sensations,
- the need for attachment,
- the need for mastery, and
- the relational/social need.
At any time in a person’s life a void can replace the space of any one of these needs causing fear, shame, and anxiety in both families and individuals. Through therapy we can build new relational experiences that help clients become less inhibited by fear, less susceptible to anxiety, and confident in the face of shame.
The goal is to help clients become more attuned to the patterns of behavior that cause them affliction by directing them through their core desires instead of operating out of woundedness. By fostering compassion, trust and trustworthiness, and self-confidence we can relieve anxiety, shame, and fear, and reduce feelings of hopelessness to what they really are, phantoms that prey on our emotional habits. Living life is part of the adventure that comes with growing up in your family, being an adult, and going out into the world. Everyone deserves a little bit of that and an opportunity to seize every bit of joy that affords itself.