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Connecting Past and Present, Heart and Mind

Connecting Past and Present, Heart and Mind

Like so many things in life, therapy is both challenging and rewarding.  I know this both from the perspective of being a therapist and from that of being a client. Therapy is a way to cultivate healthy, boundaried connections both within ourselves and with others in our lives.

Therapy is a path of transformation.  Through this journey we can transform emotional pain and unhealthy behaviours into a sense of self that is strong, a capacity for joy that is deep and a resiliency for adversity that is steadfast.

Why is it that we often know something needs to change, is not good for us, and yet feel unable to create that healthy change?  Sometimes we cling to the old ways – ways that aren’t working – because we fear the uncertainty of the new ways.

Past experiences and present day life sometimes become either indistinguishably fused or inappropriately estranged from one another.  Fears and unhealthy behaviours that repeat themselves despite our best intentions (e.g. anxiety, procrastination, over-eating or drinking, unhealthy relationships etc.) are often the results of “strategies” which we adopted much earlier in our lives.  While such life-limiting, emotionally-numbing strategies may have been life-affirming at some time in our lives, they often leave us feeling emotionally dead, fearful or stuck over time.  This is actually a good sign: it is a call to change, to live a bigger, more fulfilling life.  It is an invitation to connect past and present. In therapy, we can reclaim parts of ourselves we have disowned or discarded to our detriment. Despite the influence of background and circumstances, we remain responsible for who we are and how we respond – which is both a burden and a great freedom.

Much of our pain arises when heart and mind are out of touch. Often we have learned not to have certain feelings, to ignore certain needs and all too often we get stuck living in our heads, neglecting or fighting back our emotional selves.  When our feelings are discounted or overwhelm us, we may see where we want to go, but somehow seem powerless to get there.  We are left with a sense of constant struggle, fear and lack of fulfillment.  Part of the work of therapy is connecting our emotional feelings (hearts) with our thoughts (minds), for this is when we are at our wisest.  We actually need our feelings to guide as to what is truly important to us.  It is the connection of heart and mind that allows us to feel whole and stable.

ACCT – Association of Cooperative Counselling Therapists of Canada

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