Counselling & Psychotherapy
One of the most important things you can do to become happier is to realise what the nature of your relationship is like with yourself.
Counselling and Psychotherapy are about supporting you to do this.
It is the nature of this relationship with yourself that will impact on how you feel and every single thing you do or don’t do and how you do it.
We are born good, open, loving, kind, intelligent, assertive, courageous, ambitous, risk-takers, adventurous and outgoing and much more. Our true nature is love.
However, throughout our lives we come up against the defences of others with whom we are in relationship with and we begin to hide away many of these qualities as we try to become who they want us to be.
We are not born stupid or dysfuctional, lazy, introverted, bold, passive, aggressive, unemotional, controlling or people pleasers but these are the labels others put on us when . It is a process of realising how aspects of who you really are have become hidden. Those aspects were hidden for wise reason, to allow you to remain in relationship with those whom you needed support from, particulary when you were young and could not meet your needs yourself.
This realisation of how you have lived at times in the shadow of who you really are enables the emergence of your authentic self and the beginning of a sense of strong, solid interiority.
If you hid your voice, your opinion, your ability to learn, your assertiveness, your natural curiosity or risk taking, your freedom to make mistakes or to be wrong, your ambition, your confidence or your deep knowing of your own lovability, your value and worth than it was in order to survive the conditions that others in relationship with you unwittingly created.
It is our belief that we do not get damaged, we get hidden and we can re-emerge; what allows emergence is consciousness of what led to our going into hiding and compassion for how we now struggle without the parts that we hid away.
We do not come out of the womb disliking ourselves or others, we are not born defensive. These are responses we wisely create to protect ourselves from threats. As we become conscious of how our defences were necessary we also begin to realise how to allow what is behind our defences, our real self, to emerge. It is emergence not change that is required. Defensive behaviours are really protective behaviours, we never intend to hurt another we are unconsciously protecting ourselves.
Anger, fear, anxiety, control, advice, over protection, neglect, stress, dependence on alcohol or drugs, passivity, bullying, smoking, lack of academic achievement, depression, denial, manipulation, apathy, are all protective behaviours that are put in place as substitutes for the aspects of ourself we had to hide away.
They are substitute ways of getting seen or heard or cared for or comforted but there is no substitute for the real thing.
When you begin to look at your protective behaviours you begin to see what you hid away, for example: if I am feeling anxious then whatever is the opposite of anxiety for me (peace of mind or feeling content) is what I had to hide away. If I am feeling depressed then the feeling of depression comes to let me know what I hid away (possibly when very young). As I look at my feeling of depression I may discover that as a child, in my family, feelings were not talked about or allowed or were dismissed and consequently for many years I have unconsciously pressed down my feelings. In this way depression is my friend coming to tell me what I need to do so that I can bring out the part that depression is a substitute for and happiness returns.
Instead of aggressiveness or passivity we feel assertive, instead of anxious, calm, instead of fear, confidence, instead of feeling empty we feel full, and the substitutes that we previously used to fill the emptiness are no longer needed.Each one of us will have a totally unique story and in the telling of that story of our experiences comes the realisation, the consciousness of who we really are.
The telling of our story also requires safety we need to be sure that in talking about our protective behaviours we will not be judged, patronised, or advised. We need the listener to see and acknowledge our wisdom, resourcefulness and immense capability, that safety depends on the quality of our relationship with the person we choose to share our story with.
As you become conscious of how you feel about yourself; physically; emotionally; socially behaviourally; sexually; intellectually; spiritually & creatively you can begin to make sense of what is happening in your life and in your relationships.
"All Behaviour is Wise and Makes Sense"
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Psychotherapy in Belfast : at our offices in Howard Street
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