05 Apr Therapy after the Chaos is Quieted
I recently shared a meme from Nicole Arzt, LMFT’s hilarious and irreverent Instagram feed psychotherapymemes. It said, “Friendly reminder that therapy is still effective even when everything in life is going well. Y’all ever run a Roomba on a ‘clean’ floor and see how much nasty shit it picks up?” A friend of mine – not a therapist – immediately commented, “Abso-freakin-lutely!!”
However, when you aren’t functioning because the chaos in your life is so loud and painful, it’s an important time to start therapy. Really, don’t delay. A crisis point could be the death of a loved one, a manic phase, a divorce, panic attacks, or deep depression. Anything that’s keeping you from living your life in a relatively stable manner.
Reasons to start Therapy when in Crisis:
- Safe place to process crisis, trauma, behavior that is causing distress.
- Learn grounding techniques to calm overwhelming feelings or deal with panic attacks.
- Therapist can collaborate with psychiatrist to support medication management to stabilize mood.
- Express anger, sadness, or disappointment openly in a way that you can’t do with family or friends.
- Practice new behaviors or social skills in a non-judgmental space.
- Make a plan for the future – therapist will likely be more directive if you’re in crisis.
I truly believe some of the best work therapeutically is done when the chaos has quieted. When a client comes in and says, “I’m not sure what to talk about…” I know it will probably be a good session. There is emotional space to gain insight around the impact of overwhelming life events; to really process deeply held grief. It’s also a time to explore new desires whether it be rock climbing or new relationships or sexuality. Unfortunately, clients often leave therapy when there isn’t a daily crisis to process.
Reasons to Stay in Therapy when Life is Going Well:
- Process overwhelming life events/childhood trauma.
- Explore on a deeper level how your past impacts your present.
- Build a relationship with your therapist that prepares you for more intimate relationships in your personal life.
- Make plans and set goals that are built around self-development; creative endeavors, career change, communication skills.
- Work on asking for what you need from others, learn to set boundaries, and build a sense of agency.
- Deepen work on grounding and mindfulness practices so that you’re prepared for crisis in the future.
This doesn’t mean stay in therapy forever. It does mean stay in therapy for as long as you are getting something out of it. You are valuable and your story is worth exploring. Your well-being not only enhances your own life-satisfaction, but all the people who depend on you. You can be a better friend, partner, and parent if you feel emotionally and creatively balanced.
Therapy is self-care. Please feel free to call or email me to discuss therapy. I’m licensed in Georgia and Florida. If I’m not in your area, I’m happy to offer referrals or direct you to other resources.
Kate Murphy, LCSW
Kate Murphy, a therapist in Chamblee, GA, specializes in helping you decrease stress and anxiety. You can live a more balanced, connected, and meaningful life. Kate works with individuals and couples over the age of 18 to support healing, communicating, and experiencing joy more often. Personally and professionally she is part of the adoptee and LGBTQ community. Licensed in GA & FL.