What Attending Therapy Is About: (AKA We Are Not Just Sitting Here Chatting)

Everyone’s approach to attending therapy sessions is different: people’s needs, symptoms, and circumstances vary incredibly. People want and expect different things in session.

Clearly, there are specific, well-researched interventions that are likely to be effective with most people who experience a certain symptom or pattern of behavior. Some interventions can be practiced in a therapy session, and some interventions are good for a client to take home and practice on their own. I do have plenty of handouts to work on and books to recommend that you read!

But not every intervention is on a list of tips that I’m going to print out and give you outright, or on a sheet in a manual with steps 1, 2, and 3. In fact, nearly all of what we are doing while in session is an intervention, even if I do not formally announce it as such. That is to say, we are not just sitting here chatting, even if sometimes that’s what it appears to be.

When I’m asking about your week, or how you feel, if you’ve gotten over your flu, or how things are going with your family or job, for example, I’m actually assessing your anxiety, depression, hypomania, behavior patterns, physical well-being, environmental influences, sense of hopefulness, and any changes in how you are interacting…for starters.

But I’m not just gathering data. I’m also intentionally getting you to practice certain kinds of conversing, thinking, and interacting during session.

I’m getting you to practice speaking openly about things that may have felt “unspeakable,” uncomfortable, scary, or just awkward. I’m reframing or redirecting your thoughts as you speak them from “shoulds and musts” to “preferences and wants,” so that you can begin to change your internalized messages. I am giving you the chance to practice openly experiencing and expressing feelings in the presence of someone who will not censor or scold you for how “irrational” or “unacceptable” they are. I am often taking the role of defending you from your own inner critic! I am supporting you in developing an attachment that is not based in power and control or other unhealthy dynamics. I’m also simply being a trained witness to your life; checking in with you over time to see how you are changing and making sure you are okay.

Developing different patterns of thought and interaction takes time, and it’s a great deal more powerful if done with another person. That is why sessions are “booster shots” even for those who do a lot of internal work on their own. Humans are social creatures. Everyone, even introverts (like me!) must interact with others in order to process and develop emotionally.

And you know I can tell you’ve been making real progress when you stop yourself from saying “should” in session before I can give you the “shoulds” lecture yet again! ;D

So that is why–even if I didn’t give you a handout to take home or a list of suggested solutions to your situation–you made a LOT of progress in your session today.

Remember, “talk therapy” actually changes brain structure!

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Last Call! This Thursday 1/24: Therapeutic Art for Anxiety

~We still have some spaces left–sign up soon! Explore difficult feelings with creativity!~

 

Single-Session two-hour small-group therapeutic art for adults: 

Thursday, January 24, 5-7pm: Art Therapy for Anxiety

~Appropriate for adults with OCD, Panic, Phobia, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, or other anxiety disorders.

~Online Signup via Eventbrite (or contact us directly)

 

 

~All supplies provided

~Many insurances will reimburse – please ask for a receipt

~If you are not a current client at Intersectional Life C&P, a referral from your current therapist is required ~OR~ if you don’t have a therapist you may request a brief screening interview (phone or in-person, 1/2 hour)

 

 

 

 

therapeutic art groups for anxiety and trauma (1)

 

Next Week: Therapeutic Art for Anxiety (Thursday 1/24)

~We still have some spaces left–sign up soon! Explore difficult feelings with creativity!~

 

Single-Session two-hour small-group therapeutic art for adults: 

Thursday, January 24, 5-7pm: Art Therapy for Anxiety

~Appropriate for adults with OCD, Panic, Phobia, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, or other anxiety disorders.

~Online Signup via Eventbrite (or contact us directly)

 

 

~All supplies provided

~Many insurances will reimburse – please ask for a receipt

~If you are not a current client at Intersectional Life C&P, a referral from your current therapist is required ~OR~ if you don’t have a therapist you may request a brief screening interview (phone or in-person, 1/2 hour)

 

 

 

 

therapeutic art groups for anxiety and trauma (1)

 

Therapeutic Art: January 24

Single-Session two-hour small-group therapeutic art for adults: 

Thursday, January 24, 5-7pm: Art Therapy for Anxiety

~Appropriate for adults with OCD, Panic, Phobia, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, or other anxiety disorders.

~Online Signup via Eventbrite (or contact us directly)

 

 

~All supplies provided

~Many insurances will reimburse – please ask for a receipt

~If you are not a current client at Intersectional Life C&P, a referral from your current therapist is required ~OR~ if you don’t have a therapist you may request a brief screening interview (phone or in-person, 1/2 hour)

 

 

 

 

therapeutic art groups for anxiety and trauma (1)

 

Therapeutic Art 12/13 and 1/10: Register Soon!

Single-Session three-hour therapeutic art groups for adults, each focused on a specific theme:

Thursday, December 13, 5-7pm: Art Therapy for Anxiety

~Appropriate for adults with OCD, Panic, Phobia, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, or other anxiety disorders.
~Online Signup via Eventbrite (or contact us directly) REGISTRATION EXTENDED THROUGH 12/5

Thursday, January 10, 5-7:30pm: Art Therapy for Trauma History 

~Appropriate for adults with PTSD or related issues deriving from experiences of violence or abusive/chaotic/violent environment
~Online Signup via Eventbrite (or contact us directly) REGISTER THROUGH 12/30


 

~All supplies provided

~You may sign up for one or both groups, depending on availability of spaces

~Many insurances will reimburse – please ask for a receipt

~If you are not a current client at Intersectional Life C&P, a referral from your current therapist is required ~OR~ if you don’t have a therapist you may request a brief screening interview (phone or in-person, 1/2 hour)

 

 

 

Upcoming Therapeutic Art Groups: Trauma and Anxiety

Single-Session three-hour therapeutic art groups for adults, each focused on a specific theme:

Thursday, November 29, 5-8pm: Art Therapy for Trauma History

~Appropriate for adults with PTSD or related issues deriving from experiences of violence or abusive/chaotic/violent environment

Thursday, December 13, 5-8pm: Art Therapy for Anxiety

~Appropriate for adults with OCD, Panic, Phobia, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, or other anxiety disorders.


 

~All supplies provided

~You may sign up for one or both groups, depending on availability of spaces

~Cost per group (3-hr session) is $155. (Many insurances will reimburse – please ask for a receipt)

~If you are not a current client at Intersectional Life C&P, a referral from your current therapist is required ~OR~ if you don’t have a therapist you may request a brief screening interview (phone or in-person, 1/2 hour)

Please contact us soon to register.

 

Stopping the Cycle Matters, and It’s Hard

For those who are taking on the life’s work of recovering from any kind of childhood abuse, what you are doing really, really matters. You are blocking the spread of abuse with your own body and heart.

It takes an enormous effort to put something positive out into the world, or to pass something better on to your own or others’ children, when you weren’t even given enough resources yourself to begin with.

Being the one to stop the damage from propagating further means you are spending energy repairing your own injuries while also spending energy moving forward and putting good into the world. You are working twice as hard with fewer resources and while healing from your injuries. In a way, you are repairing the past, present, and future all at once.

No wonder changing the world is so exhausting!

Therapy Changes Your Brain Structure

Experiences change our brains. Not just in some vague way, but the structures and functions of our brains.

It’s true that our earliest experiences cast the longest shadows on our lives. But we can still heal and change our brains in positive directions throughout our lifetimes.

Yes, medications affect brain function directly, but “talk” therapy can also change your brain. For example, the more you practice thinking in a certain way, the more it becomes automatic.

If you were raised with conditioning (traumatic experiences, chaotic or abusive household) that led to depressive and anxious thoughts, you can practice new ways of thinking that will help to re-condition your brain. This is certainly not to say “just think cheerful thoughts and everything will be fine.” This is about targeting certain patterns of thoughts that you may not even realize you experience.

Thoughts are not the only part of your mental conditioning that can be re-trained, but they are often a good place to start.

Even severe conditions such as schizophrenia can show improvement in brain functioning through “talk” therapy, as research continues to show.