While we undoubtedly go into therapy with the goal of feeling better, it is true that one can sometimes feel a bit worse after an emotional session. As unfortunate as that sounds, it is normal to sometimes feel upset or drained when revisiting tough emotional experiences or uncovering difficult insights and truths that have not been so obvious to us in the past.
Often we approach emotions in a pathological way, by chasing good emotions and ignoring or avoiding the bad. We grow, change, and move forward in our lives by experiencing a full range of emotions and using that experience to shape our future intentions. While we might feel like we went into therapy just to feel better, many of us have also tried a bit of consumer therapy by spending money on a chocolate bar or a new dress. While you may have felt better in that exact moment, did it really lead to any long term gains?
In reality, we go to therapy to build a stronger and more resilient relationship with ourselves, work through difficult experiences, and gain insight into the complexities of our choices. These gifts often only come with the recognition that we are not perfect and that negative emotions deserve to be felt. Those emotions give us important information and act as an emotional compass. Talking about difficult experiences may feel worse in the moment, but that experience also blossoms awareness of those elements of our lives and our experience that we pathologically avoid. These moments of discomfort, especially supported by a therapist we trust, can empower us in the future and slowly lessen the impact and the emotional charge that lay behind these traumatic narratives. If we do not bring these narratives forward we lose the opportunity to rewrite their endings.
What have you been avoiding thinking or talking about lately?
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Jessica is a member of the clinical wellness and learning support team at FLEX Psychology. Jessica started Wellness Wednesday out of a desire to provide further opportunities for her clients to extend their wellness journey to all avenues of their life. You can learn more about Jessica by clicking here or by learning more about her and the clinical team at FLEX Psychology by clicking here.