And how can therapy help me?
You’ve been struggling for a while and are now considering therapy. If you’ve been following the past few posts, you have learned what gets in the way of going to therapy and how to find the right therapist for you. Now you are wondering what therapy at Serenity Solutions would be like. Maybe you’ve seen examples of what therapy is like on TV shows or movies and are curious how true to form those examples are. Keep reading as we dispel myths about therapy and share what it’s really like.
We are not Freud and we are not your friend
While the therapists at Serenity Solutions may have some things in common with our favorite fictional therapists and maybe even with some of your friends, there are also some important differences. First of all, we are not the type of therapists who just sit and listen and nod without saying much of anything. That is in line with psychoanalytic therapists from the past who often had their clients lie down on the couch. While we do have a couch in our office if you come in person, you will only be lying down if you are too tired to sit up. Besides the couch, we are interactive therapists. We ask questions to get to know you and to better understand where you are struggling and what your goals are. These questions also help you develop a better awareness of your thoughts, feelings, and behavior patterns. We give feedback, sharing our thoughts about what you’ve said. While that might sound scary, especially to people who don’t feel good about themselves or who have never done this before, our feedback is offered in supportive, non-judgmental ways. For example, when working with someone struggling with anger management, we might notice and share with you that whenever you feel unheard by your partner, you yell. This can be helpful information, as you may have previously worried that you and your partner weren’t a good fit or that the dirty dishes were your anger trigger.
It’s not your parents’ fault
Another common misconception about therapy is that the focus is on blaming our parents for all of our problems in our adulthood. This is not the focus of therapy at Serenity Solutions. While we may encourage you to explore your childhood to learn where some of your behaviors and coping skills come from, we tend to leave it at that. For example, having an understanding that anxious feelings when you are not in control of things may be related to the fact that your home was chaotic as a child can help you to catch yourself when you are engaging in old coping strategies, allowing you the option to choose new, helpful coping skills.
Focus on present-moment experiences
At Serenity Solutions, we focus on your life today. As already mentioned, we may spend some time talking about your childhood to get an understanding of how you learned different behaviors. However, we know that you want to feel better NOW so we focus on what you can do NOW to feel better. What does that look like? Therapists at Serenity Solutions incorporate Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) into anxiety treatment and anger management and their work with clients struggling with postpartum anxiety and addictions.
What is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)?
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a type of therapy that helps people accept their inner experiences (thoughts, feelings, physical sensations, and memories) in the present moment while committing to positive changes for their future. In other words, it’s about accepting what’s happening right now without judgment so you can move forward with courage and determination. ACT is based on the idea that human suffering and mental health issues are a result of how we think about our experiences. ACT teaches you how to focus on your values and what is important to you. This allows you to choose what you want to do at any given moment or how you want to behave, even if you are having uncomfortable feelings like anxiety or anger. When we are not aware of our inner experiences, they can take over and decide what we should do. Unfortunately, anxious or angry thoughts often tell us to do the thing that will make the anxious or angry thought go away, which is often not the same behavior as if we focused on what is most important to us. A great example of this is if you are feeling really anxious about going on a date or giving a public speech at work, your anxiety would tell you to call out sick so that you can feel better. However, if it’s important to you to find a life partner or succeed in your career, the suggestion made by your anxious mind would interfere. ACT uses mindfulness to help you learn to catch yourself when unhelpful thoughts and feelings show up so that you can choose how you want to behave and takes steps toward living a life that feels meaningful to you.
What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)?
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) focuses on helping you feel better by changing the way you think and behave. When you identify thought patterns and behaviors that make you feel bad, you can change them. When our emotions are strong, they can lead to exaggerated thoughts or outright lies. Unfortunately, we tend to believe these exaggerations or lies because we are in the practice of trusting the first thing that comes to mind. With cognitive behavioral therapy, we can change how we feel by challenging the validity of the thought. If you are feeling angry because your partner didn’t put the dishes away after you asked them, your thoughts might say things like “They didn’t do the dishes to piss me off” or “They don’t care about me because they didn’t do what I asked them to do.” You can challenge these thoughts by looking for evidence for or against the thought, using empathy to put yourself in your partner’s shoes to consider other reasons why they acted that way, or depersonalizing by reminding yourself that most people make choices to do things to help themselves, not to purposely to hurt others.
Learn more about therapy at Serenity Solutions
If you’d like to learn more about how ACT and CBT work to help with anxiety and anger, check out Alisa’s recent appearance on the Practice of the Practice podcast by clicking here. If you are ready to learn more about starting therapy at Serenity Solutions for anxiety treatment, anger management therapy, postpartum anxiety, or addictions, call us at 267-317-8817 or click here to schedule your free 15-minute phone consultation. We’re here and ready to help you reach your goals of feeling better and living a meaningful life.