As depression bites, our view of ourselves changes from acceptance and OK-ness to self-loathing, guilt at imagined sins of omission or commission and, ultimately, a wish to die.
What difficulties do people bring to therapy?
• Difficulty in making satisfying relationships in social or work life.
• Disappointments and repeating patterns in couple relationships.
• Anxiety about sexual relationships.
• Nameless anxiety.
• Persistent feelings of despair, isolation, anger.
• Alienation from the self, lack of meaning, depression.
• A deep divide between the internal experience of the self and the self known to others.
• Anxiety connected to coming out as a lesbian or gay man –as a young adult or in later life.
• Loss – of a close relationship, or of a job or culture.
• Compulsive patterns - for example tending to defer to others or to control them.
• Post-recovery problems relating to alcoholism and other addictions.
Who can be helped by therapy?
Therapy can provide a way of healing for people who experience a severe degree of distress within themselves. It can provide a journey in search of meaning for people who feel lost. It can be a creative way forward for people of any age. Children and adolescents need to work with appropriately trained therapists. There is certainly no upper age limit; therapy can be a particularly creative endeavour for older people.
When people are experiencing extreme disorientation or acute confusion between their inner experience and outer reality, then therapy alone is unlikely to offer sufficient support, though it might be recommended alongside appropriate medical care.
When people are dealing with serious addictions it may be necessary to have more comprehensive help than therapy can give. Therapy may be helpful in maintaining sobriety once the addictive behaviour is reduced.