A Therapist Ponders Mental Health, Part 2

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Visit Part 1 of this blog.

Socrates is credited with saying, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” I can attest to that! Therapy has given me ME. I honor myself through healthy choices. I no longer experience me as not good enough. And I know that there is no such thing as perfect. What matters most is to be comfortable with who we are and how we live in the world, alongside of other human beings.

So it’s our early years that critically influence the way we will think and feel – about ourselves, about the world. Thus, clarity about how we came to be the people we are today can free us to make the changes that will give us a chance for the life we want. Life skills can open the door to a new kind of existence.

All relationships have complex aspects to them, especially love relationships. In order for couples to have a deeply fulfilling connection, they need to feel safe and willing to be vulnerable to each other. If they are damaged, their defenses, which developed to protect them, are also the defenses that keep them from the pleasures of connection and intimacy.

These negative effects can be obliterated and we can develop a new sense of self through processes such as EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) and Heart Assisted Therapy (the list is long) – which render long term talk therapy alone obsolete. The message here is to find a therapist, someone who can sit with you with their heart open and with skills to take you beyond your suffering and the beliefs that grew out of those early experiences. And, this happens in the caring presence of someone who is experienced in the art of transformation.

From this perspective, how do I define mental health? To me, it is having a stable sense of who you are, yet, an openness to possibilities, the ability to be flexible, having empathy towards others and oneself, and being in touch with the sensations and signals of one’s body.

A well-lived life is enhanced by understanding and growing beyond what doesn’t seem to be getting us what we want, to become the best we can be. Good therapy is one path to maximize the quality of this time here on earth. It is a path to opening oneself to living from a place of love and gratitude.

You certainly do not have to be mentally ill to reach for this kind of help. As a matter of fact, it requires a willingness to accept that you don’t know everything. Intelligent people know that! And it makes sense to begin with who you are intrinsically, and altering some of those beliefs that keep you stuck, to open you to a different and wonderful life of being.

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About Paula Susan

Paula Susan, MSW, LCSW, Masters in Clinical Social Work & Psychology; specialist in Trauma and Relationships since 1982. In 1991, I integrated the powerfully transformative process of EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). Research demonstrates that it facilitates life-altering changes more efficiently and effectively than talk therapy alone. I teach skills such as communication and anxiety relief to improve connection with others. Over the decades, I’ve come to respect how much damage even small traumatic experiences inflict on our core beliefs about ourselves and the world around us. I consider it a privilege to help my clients understand and change what has undermined their happiness and their relationships. I do it with warmth, integrity, humor, and profound respect for those who care about the quality of this small piece of time we have on earth.www.paulasusan.com

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