When I pulled into the carpark of my psychotherapists office that very first day back in April 1989, exactly twenty-four years ago, I had no idea what to expect. As nervous as can be, I opened the door and walk into the waiting room. I was literally shaking. But I knew I had to be there.
A couple of months earlier I'd had my wake up call. I was standing in the back galley of a Boeing 767 aircraft on the return sector of my very first tour of duty as a flight attendant having spent a week in Singapore. We, the crew, were chatting prior to taking our seats for landing when it struck me—everyone else was so excited to be home, and all I wanted to do was turn around and go back. Anywhere.
In the weeks that followed I explored my feelings and decided that I wanted to heal myself. Having lost my mother twelve years earlier I had deep grief buried inside of me that needed to be expressed and worked through.
Psychotherapy helps people to explore themselves to create greater self-awareness, dive deep into thoughts, feelings, and behaviours to better understand who they are. It was incredibly beneficial for me. There are many positive aspects and these are just some of the most important ones I found.
1. Improved management of emotions. Talking through circumstances, and expressing both thoughts and feelings, helped me to mange my emotions. With pent up feelings being expressed it was like a pressure valve had been related. Doing so reduces anxiety and depression and definitely gave me a sense of well-being and empowerment I'd not experienced previously.
2. Creates self-awareness. Prior to therapy I had little self-awareness. But, as I worked through issues, talking about them with my therapist and looking at how I felt about them, I was able to get to know myself better. With this understanding of myself I could uncover my underlying motivations, patterns of behaviour, and ways of thinking I'd not been aware of before.
3. Better relationships. Psychotherapy definitely helped me improve my relationships with others. By developing better communication skills, and understanding my own emotional triggers, I was able to build stronger and more fulfilling relationships.
4. Strengthened resilience. With the knowledge and understanding I gained about myself, I found I was better able to cope with difficult situations. I learned how to manage stress and intense emotions which meant I could navigate life much more easily.
5. Increased self-esteem. By discovering my own strengths, I could recognise my own accomplishments, and accept my weaknesses, and this therefore built my self-confidence. Having a secure attachment with my therapist for a period of time meant that I could build that security within myself to then take out into the world once my psychoanalysis ended.
Psychotherapy significantly changed my life for the better, without a doubt. With increased self-awareness, a better understanding of myself and my past, and the ability to manage my emotions, I went on to create a happy and fulfilling life.