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In Stress and Coping

Some words about psychotherapy and counselling… (Part 1)

Because of the dramatic ways in which my life has been transformed over recent years, I have become more aware of the manner, in which I respond to the level of awareness that I can master in my personal life.  Throughout the books dedicated to existential psychology and psychotherapy I have encouraged a more intense link between the way in which I live in the world and work with others towards greater understanding.

Being human beings, each of us has to find the kind of equilibrium that is usually called ‘wisdom’ and that is never quite mastered, but always within reach. I strongly believe that there is an optimum tension somewhere between complacency and catastrophe, which enables anyone to be more secure enough to be steady and anxious enough to be alert, which serves in managing life in its contradictions. Somewhere between boredom and terror you can learn to be yourself in harmony with the flow of life, rather than obstruct it or feel obstructed by it.

The human condition is riddle with contradictions. You, as all of us, live in a constant tension between opposites, moving between wakefulness and sleep, confidence and doubt, belonging and isolation, sickness and health, life and death. As soon as you born, your future death becomes inevitable. Whenever things go well in your lives, you become at once apprehensive of the next problem or catastrophe, which you know from experience might be waiting for you just around the next corner. Life is a constant cycle of ups and downs, of achievements and failures, of encounters and separations, of joys and sorrows, of hopes and disappointments. Exposure to these contradictions generates emotions that can easily swing you out of control. Life is an obstacle course for which there are no dry runs and about which you learn nothing if not through your own experiences and mistakes.

It’s more likely that you would like to think that you will consult a psychotherapist or a counselor in order simply to get better at managing your life’s problems, However, the reality is that you come to these professionals principally when you feel overwhelmed and out of control. You wait to get help until you are ‘sinking’, rather than coming in order to learn how to swim. It’s more likely you will come to counselling or psychotherapy because

  • you need help in making sense of something strange or new;
  • you are lost and need to find yourself;
  • you are down and need to climb out of your despair
  • you are confused and need to make sense of things again;
  • you are in doubt and need to discover a new sense of purpose.

Interventions made in times of personal turmoil might contribute to a higher level of personal resonance and direct insight.

There is a tendency in the field of counselling and psychotherapy to consider such moments of trouble and need for assistance as the consequence of some intrinsic personal problem, which can only be stored out by an expert on the human psyche or on human relations. Having knowledge about how to deal with your situation before it becomes a serious life’s problem, you will immune yourself from the difficulties that you face in your  life and be able to cope with them at all times. If you do not cope there is something wrong with you, rather than with your situation.

To be continued…

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