What questions do you get asked over and over again about your practice?
My model of therapy involves having two way conversations. Like most conversations, there are discussions and questions. Some of the questions are logistical—payment, appointments etc, others are more therapeutic. The question that comes up more often is actually not directed towards me. It is a question asked rhetorically by my clients about their right to have their feelings. These are a few samples:
“Why should I be depressed? I have everything that anyone would want.”
“Why should I be upset about my bonus? There are so many people who don’t have jobs? “
“I really shouldn’t be upset about my husband talking to that woman at the party, should I?”
This sample of questions shows that people doubt their self perceptions and right to feel. Self doubts then lead to self loathing about not only feeling these feelings, but having them in the first place. Their self perception is that they are weak, shallow, and ungrateful people. This process of invalidation followed by self loathing becomes a downward spiral of lower self esteem. What a crappy process!!!
How do we change this process? Give myself permission. What does that mean? According to thefreedictionary.com, permission means – approval to do something. When I give myself permission, I am granting myself the approval to have feelings, and feel my feelings. That is powerful permission!! Permission also comes with its own self-talk channel. This “channel” can run in my head at any time and tell me “it’s ok to have these feelings”; “it’s ok to feel these feelings”. This ongoing permissive self-talk gives me the power to own my feelings. They are mine after all!!! Once I start the process of permission, I can then challenge my self doubts and self perceptions and can empower myself to be a more feeling person. If I can own my feelings without the self doubt, I can then work on changing other bad patterns and cycles.
Remember, change is possible!