Areas of focus
We enter therapy for many reasons. Some of us come to learn more about ourselves. Some of us come because we’re struggling in our lives. Some of us simply need a space where we can be listened to without expectation, interruption, or judgement. Listed below are a few of the most common reasons for seeking therapy. If in doubt about whether gestalt therapy is for you, please get in touch.
Anxiety comes in many forms, and no single treatment is effective for everyone. The idea that anxiety can be “cured” is misleading—we don’t expect to cure other natural human responses, like sadness or anger—but with therapy and other lifestyle changes, anxiety can certainly be managed so it no longer overwhelms us. If we work with anxiety skilfully, it may even become a gift: an unfailing signal of our resistance to life as it is, and an open invitation to practice kindness towards ourselves.
The word “depression” fails to do justice to the complex human terrain to which it points. Depression is often a sign that our deeper needs are being ignored, that the ways we have defined ourselves in the world are no longer working, and that a new life is calling out to us. It is tempting to try to rid ourselves of depression as quickly as possible. Good therapy asks a different question: “What is this depression telling me about my life?”
Trauma impairs our capacity to connect with ourselves and others, diminishing our aliveness. The therapist Robert Stolorow suggests that trauma occurs when “severe emotional pain cannot find a relational home in which it can be held”. How many of us have experienced pain that couldn’t be shared, understood, and “held” by another? How does this unintegrated pain now live in our bodies and minds? Therapy offers us the chance to develop deep bonds of emotional attunement in which previously intolerable pain can be held, gradually tolerated, and eventually integrated.
Many of us come to therapy because of challenges in our relationships. It may even be true to say that all of us come to therapy because of challenges in relationship, that our lives are in fact nothing but relationship. Therapeutic relationships are valuable because they help us understand how we show up in every other relationship: what we bring, what we hide, what we elicit, and what we repel.
Personal & spiritual growth
Therapy isn’t all about problems; it’s also about growth, expansion, maturation, and transformation. Some of us come to therapy with a simple desire to better understand ourselves. Some of us see therapy as a necessary adjunct to our meditative or spiritual practices, which can so easily be used to bypass the raw and messy parts of our experience.