Inherited Anxiety

I guess a significant aspect of most counselling and psychotherapeutic practice work is the presentation of clients with anxiety issues. If not in the initial presentation but as the work progresses, aspects may appear.

So what is anxiety, why is it so prevalent in our work, why is it presented  so much?

Anxiety is caused by the stimulation of the fight/flight/freeze mechanism that is inherent in all animals, of which we humans are but just one group. It is there to protect us in time of perceived danger. Very useful if the perception is that we are about to be attacked by a predator much larger than ourselves, here action needs to be taken.

Hence the instinctive rush of adrenaline and action taken to protect ourselves. Here the physical tool kit that we have been gifted by evolution will be a component in our choice of response……fight, flight or freeze. So, we have within ourselves a very useful mechanism for survival. If we did not have this evolutionary mechanism, we would not have survived.

In this regard the species that survive are those that are aware of potential danger and take avoidant or proactive decisions. The potential danger of course does not just relate to a predator, it can be environment, food, shelter. Here anticipation of something missing needing to be anticipated and action taken.

The key word here is anticipation. Those that anticipate the consequences of events are therefore more likely to avoid danger have a greater chance of survival. But where might this lead if anticipation becomes anxiety…….

It may make us more safer, potentially neurotic but in less danger and therefore more able to survive and then create the next generation of our species. Whereas those with less anticipation skills, maybe struggle to survive.

So maybe we can say that humans have survived due to anxiety potential and that this is why so much of it is prevalent in our practices. Have we been handed down in our genes a natural ability to anticipate danger or more significantly to seek it? Has anticipation/anxiety become inherent in humans? Those in tune with this insect had a greater chance of survival, those less sensitive to this feeling, did not survive.

Of course not everyone sees the world as a threatening place. This is not to say that only the anxious have survived. But it is a consideration as to why there is anxiety in society……

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Relationship

Reflecting on my practice I have often wondered what works and why. Is it the clinical approach? In my practice I work integratively so there is the choice of psychodynamic, humanistic or cognitive behavioural strategies. Here it is hard to specifically identify what is working, as a true integrative approach works in a seamless way meeting client needs and presenting issues. But the evidence does suggest that my practice works, so is it the flexibility of the integrative approach that is the key?

I suspect however, if we talked with therapists who worked solely in any of these specific fields and their practices had generally successful outcomes, it maybe said that the approach that they used would demonstrate that that approach was the one that worked.

So all this seems inconclusive, until we consider a dynamic that is present in all of these approaches. That dynamic is the relationship. The relationship between client and therapist. Whatever approach that is used and there are many of them, there has to be a relationship. It is my experience that where there is a positive relationship the therapy works. The reverse of a positive relationship also supports the view that the therapeutic relationship is the key to the therapy, this in that if the relationship is not strong enough it becomes negative and the therapy does not progress successfully.

Therapy is a collaborative process, client and therapist will work together to identify and clarify issues. These issues will be within the person, in their internal world influenced by their external world. In the case of the latter this is with regard to their own relationships, both past and present.

Human beings are team animals, we relate to others and them to us. How is it that some of us come into difficulty? Has this occurred because of our past relationships, this maybe with primary care givers and early relationships of any form. There is a sense that we become who we are because of what we have experienced in the world. So here maybe, the cause of emotional challenges that clients seek help with, has been past interactions………..relationships with the world, negative relationships.

What better method to create a more happier person than to create a relationship that is therapeutic. This is not to say that only that will help, it only of course a base for growth and understanding. But on the basis of the relationship we can introduce insights and awareness to stimulate a shift in an individuals internal world.

Reflecting on my practice I have often wondered what works and why. Is it the clinical approach? In my practice I work integratively so there is the choice of psychodynamic, humanistic or cognitive behavioural strategies. Here it is hard to specifically identify what is working, as a true integrative approach works in a seamless way meeting client needs and presenting issues. But the evidence does suggest that my practice works, so is it the flexibility of the integrative approach that is the key?

I suspect however, if we talked with therapists who worked solely in any of these specific fields and their practices had generally successful outcomes, it maybe said that the approach that they used would demonstrate that that approach was the one that worked.

So all this seems inconclusive, until we consider a dynamic that is present in all of these approaches. That dynamic is the relationship. The relationship between client and therapist. Whatever approach that is used and there are many of them, there has to be a relationship. It is my experience that where there is a positive relationship the therapy works. The reverse of a positive relationship also supports the view that the therapeutic relationship is the key to the therapy, this in that if the relationship is not strong enough it becomes negative and the therapy does not progress successfully.

Therapy is a collaborative process, client and therapist will work together to identify and clarify issues. These issues will be within the person, in their internal world influenced by their external world. In the case of the latter this is with regard to their own relationships, both past and present.

Human beings are team animals, we relate to others and them to us. How is it that some of us come into difficulty? Has this occurred because of our past relationships, this maybe with primary care givers and early relationships of any form. There is a sense that we become who we are because of what we have experienced in the world. So here maybe, the cause of emotional challenges that clients seek help with, has been past interactions………..relationships with the world, negative relationships.

What better method to create a more happier person than to create a relationship that is therapeutic. This is not to say that only that will help, it only of course a base for growth and understanding. But on the basis of the relationship we can introduce insights and awareness to stimulate a shift in an individuals internal world.

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Beginning

This is my first blog and it is the start of my exploration into the world of blogging. The idea is to use this platform to encourage a dialogue on the process of counselling and psychotherapy.

It seems that from my work with clients, counselling and psychotherpy works. But why does it work?

This question is not about me or my practice, it is about the practice of therapy whoever the practitioner is, or for that matter the person seeking help. There are many approaches to therapy and I guess each therapist,  having chosen their approach will believe that is the right way to work.

For me, within any therapeutic work there is the relationship and it is here that the success of the work hinges.

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