Psychotherapy for adults places emphasis on the internal atmosphere by reconsidering defenses that are no longer useful and interfere with life; taking a closer look at one’s sense of meaning and value; and working through areas of conflict and stagnation. Maturation is lifelong as we continue to be impacted by our work environment and home life. Life becomes increasingly complex, not only because we take on more demands and responsibilities, but also because we already have a significant history of experiences that unconsciously interfere with a unique inner truth not influenced by defense mechanisms or unconscious conflict.
Psychotherapy is sought for a variety of reasons, often due to a recent growing life stressor or an unanticipated event such as the death of a loved one or a change in one’s health. A closer examination of one’s life and a need to reformulate once sense of self and the world may be in order. Often, this change happens through the organic development of the relationship between patient and therapist, as issues arise and offer opportunities for a new growth and perspective, leading to changes in lifestyle that expand and strengthen self-care and overall functioning; and finding a new sense of authority, flexibility and authenticity.
Psychotherapy offers relief from intolerable and self-destructive thoughts such as shame that influence behavior and effect relationships. It is a learning process that cultivates insight and fosters a deeper level of change by being present with difficult feelings and previously avoided aspects of one’s life. Sometimes, psychotherapy is about learning how to play again, accessing the vitality of emotions and drive, and exploring unique aspects of self through free association (following one’s line of thinking without stopping or editing).
As it pertains to the person in treatment, psychotherapy might also involve dreams and looking at the relationship between patient and therapist. If interested in ways of working beyond or in addition to words, there is the option of making art or moving the body as forms of expression and communication. These modalities explore the process of how one moves through space in mind, as well as offering a window into specific content (psychological material) and examining the important details of one’s internal landscape.
Psychotherapy is a person’s own work of art in progress – with internal achievements that free the self to experience life with open ears, a satiated palate, expansive lens and a more fully articulated voice. Psychotherapy is about engaging in the moment rather than stifling our capacity to make new connections, learning and moving through events with ease, and mastering the art of becoming while being.