27 Mar Gym : Physical workout : : Therapy : _______
Gym is to physical workout as therapy is to emotional workout. If you remember SAT analogies, you will recognize the title of this blog post as one. If not, you get the idea. Going to therapy is no different for you emotionally than going to the gym is for you physically. The type of workout you do, the effort you make, and the help you have in the process will determine the type of results you experience.
When you go to the gym, you can jump on the elliptical, treadmill or bike and cruise along at a gentle pace, getting a little something out of it, but never really seeing significant, long-lasting results. Or, you can participate in High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and resistance training, you can push your body to its limits, and you can hire a trainer to help you get the most out of your workout. When you do those things, you will gain better results faster. You will learn things from your trainer that you will take with you into the future that make workouts on your own more successful.
Therapy is no different. You can read self help books and get a little something out of them, or you can go to therapy where you will have a guide who helps you go to the uncomfortable places that you have to go in order to be a master of your emotional universe. You will then take what you learned from the experience and use it to address similar concerns in the future.
Just like trainers at the gym, therapists have different philosophies and ways of working with you. Some therapists will work with you at a problem-solving level. They will help you master conscious thought processes. This is very important work, just like moving your body for at least 20 minutes a day is important. You need a foundation of cognitive mastery.
Others therapists will help you access your unconscious mind and connect with your feelings. They do this through various methods such as tapping, hypnotherapy, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Neuro Linguistic Processing (NLP), body work and regression in a “transference,” among others.
It is important to understand that problems of the mind are not necessarily the result of specific traumatic incidents, but of the day-to-day repression of feelings over time. People suppress emotions by holding their breath and tensing their muscles.
As you are probably aware, moving the body for 20 minutes a day is not enough for many people who need to address problems of the body. Years of eating the Standard American Diet, and various accumulated toxins in the body require you to do more to bring your body to a healthy, comfortable-feeling place.
Again, therapy is no different. Since problems of the mind are contained, revealed and expressed in the body, cognitive mastery is not enough to address them long term. You must engage in emotional workouts that involve your body if you want to gain mastery over problems that, for whatever reason, elude your cognitive control.
Think about it. And call me if you are interested.