Experience more happiness & wellbeing
Holistic counselling and therapy can help you to identify underlying causes that may be contributing to depression, anxiety or other psychological symptoms so that you can experience more happiness and wellbeing in your life and relationships.
An integrated and holistic approach to wellbeing, personal growth and healing understands symptoms such as depression and anxiety (and the physical dis-ease and ailments that can often accompany them) to be signs and signals of imbalance within the complex mind, body, spirit system that is the ‘human being’. Although these symptoms can be distressing, life-limiting and painful, they are nevertheless vitally important messengers that can carry within them the very seeds of our healing, wholeness and wellbeing.
Symptoms as messengers
Like a message in a bottle, our psychological symptoms, much like our bodily ones, are an SOS alerting us to an internal imbalance or tension. Like all complex, high-functioning systems – our human system always seeks to restore a state of homeostasis or balance. For example, with scoliosis (curvature of the spine) the spine will seek to compensate for a curve on one side of the spine in the lower lumbar region for example, with a curve towards the other side in the cervical (upper) region of the spine. The symptoms we might experience as a result of spinal curvature such as muscle or nerve pain are typically the result of over burdened muscles, ligaments and tissues that are ‘working too hard’ to maintain the body’s equilibrium and balance.
Although these symptoms can be distressing, life-limiting and painful, they are nevertheless vitally important messengers that can carry within them the very seeds of our healing, wholeness and wellbeing.
So too, psychological symptoms such as depression and anxiety can alert us to an imbalance or build up of tension in our psyches. But our incredibly resilient, self-restoring system can only do so much without our awareness, active engagement and participation. Just as our muscular-skeletal symptoms won’t dissipate or simply ‘go away’ if we don’t engage in an active process of restoration (e.g. regular stretching, physiotherapy, strengthening etc), so too, we must actively engage with our psyches and psychological symptoms so that we can both manage them more effectively to minimise any negative impacts as well as understanding and actively working to address any underlying causes in our psyches.
What can cause imbalances?
Imbalances in our psyches, expressed through symptoms, can be the result of suppressed, unprocessed and unintegrated experiences or trauma. We have all suffered wounding experiences during the course of our life – from disrupted or insecure attachments with primary caregivers in our infancy and painful experiences of exile from peers or loved ones or from society or culture more broadly, to the deepest wounds of abuse, neglect or violence.
We have all suffered wounding experiences during the course of our life…
The coping mechanisms that we developed at the time of our wounding or psychological injury are different for every person, but might include – the fright, flight or freeze response, dissociation, denial, escapism, compulsive thinking and behaviours, extreme passivity or conformity, violence/aggression and bullying behaviours, alienation and withdrawal and so on. While extremely well-intentioned (and effective) as protective and coping strategies at the time of our wounding, they can be very detrimental to our ability to experience balance, wellbeing and happiness in the long term. The internal pressure and imbalance that’s generated for example, by compulsive thinking/doing as a way of keeping painful or uncomfortable feelings at bay, is not a sustainable state for our psyche to be in in terms of maintaining wellbeing.
exiled aspects of ourselves
When our original wounding experiences are not properly (or ever, as is often the case) acknowledged, understood and integrated, they can become ‘split off’ or exiled where they can continue to cause symptoms of imbalance until they are acknowledged, processed and integrated. It can be helpful to think of these exiled or wounded parts of ourself as exiled children in a basement (our subconscious) – try as we might to ignore them, eventually their knocks on the door (symptoms) will become so loud and persistent that we will be forced to acknowledge (and hopefully) listen to them and come to their aid.
Our symptoms, as unpleasant, frightening and painful as they can be, are our psyche’s way of ‘getting our attention’ in an effort to restore balance – for without awareness and acknowledgement of these exiled or fragmented aspects of our psyche, we can’t begin the process of re-integrating them.
experience more happiness & wellbeing
Holistic counselling and therapy can help you to begin to identify and work with some of these underlying imbalances and exiled aspects of yourself in a safe, gentle and compassionate way. By gently developing your internal leadership and your ability to self-soothe and regulate intense emotions and feelings through somatic (body-based), creative and holistic mind-body-spirit processes, you can learn to better manage your symptoms to reduce their negative life impacts, as well as beginning to safely feel and integrate unprocessed experiences and emotions. In doing so, you will discover your unique strengths and the possibility of experiencing more happiness, joy and wellbeing in your life and relationships.