Most people have experienced some levels of depression at some points of their life. This is common, and it may take a while to change, but therapy can help you feel better. I find that it’s helpful to pay particular attention to the ‘internal dialogue’ as people that feel depressed tend to ‘speak’ to themselves in a very derogative, hostile way. Becoming aware of how you treat yourself, and how this impacts you, we may note where you have learnt to speak to yourself like that. I will also encourage you to experiment with treating yourself more compassionately. This may feel strange at first, but in the process of therapy people are usually able to connect to a more accepting, supportive and encouraging parts within themselves.
We also look at ‘Introjects’, a Gestalt term that describes sets of beliefs we adopted as children without really questioning them. For example we may hold on to rigid ideas about ourselves as ‘useless’, or have a very rigid definition of success (therefore experience ourselves as failures).
Some people suffering from depression tend to blame themselves, and may find it difficult to express dissatisfaction with others. This is a process that’s called ‘Retroflection’, in which we attack ourselves when it feels too unsafe to be angry with others. So another focus of the work is enabling you to protest, and become clearer about what you don’t like and how you would like to be treated.
Anxiety is sadly also very common in our society. You may feel generally lacking in confidence, or uncomfortable in social situations, or you may find that certain situations become so unbearable, you try to avoid them all together (phobia), or that you adopt certain rituals to ward off scary scenarios and anxious feelings (OCD). In anxiety the link between body and mind is unmissable. When we experience fearful thoughts our body responds with any of the followings: heart palpitations, shallow breathing, growing muscle tension, blushing, stomach sickness or faintness. These are so unpleasant when extreme, that they become an object of fear by themselves. In that way, fearful thoughts create physical symptoms, which in turn reinforce fearful disposition.
So how do we break this negative cycle?
Body awareness: When clients become aware of their physical levels of stress, and learn to support themselves through breathing and attuning to their body sensations, they can start braking this cycle.
Changing the internal dialogue: Anxious people tend to quietly bully themselves, by thinking how ridiculous they look, or how they will never be able to do something. So learning to support and soothe oneself is crucial.
Finding one’s power: Anxious people tend to feel powerless, while others are seen as powerful and frightening. We may explore what happens when they reclaim their power, and allowed themselves express their anger.