The therapy process is a time and place for you to open up about your thoughts and feelings. Especially the one’s you find the most difficult to talk about. It’s those stories from our past, the ones often forgotten, mostly by choice, that are having a profound impact on your life now. But I know that sharing those stories from your past isn’t easy. You’ve tucked them away for a reason.
When in therapy with me, I share that our past events, in part, shape who we are and it's important that we take a look at it. Many don't want to go there. But in order for us to understand what is happening now it’s important that the stories of your life experiences come to light. It’s very scary, I know. But the process doesn’t have to be scary or intensely direct. I often tell my clients, when they are having difficulty verbalizing their emotions or thoughts, to journal write. It’s a very freeing, liberating and sometimes a scary experience that you can do where you are most comfortable – in your home, at the park, or wherever you choose.
Journal writing helps you move toward self-discovery. It will help you make sense of the chaos that may be surrounding you. It’s helps resolve traumas that you may have experienced which is holding you back from your potential. And it’s a safe way of looking at the past, which can inspire you to move forward.
In journal writing you don’t need to be a seasoned writer. Just grab a pen, notepad, journal book, or your computer and be ready with an open mind.
Journal writing is a wonderful outlet for letting go of your bottled up emotions. If you are feeling sad, happy, excited or angry, write it down. Release what ever you are thinking and don’t worry about grammar. Sometimes you may find yourself just writing single words; sometimes it’s a sentence. You might be someone who draws pictures. Just let you mind focus on what you are feeling, don’t hold back, write it down. I assure you the feeling is liberating and powerful. If you find it’s bringing about upsetting feelings please bring that to your therapist. She/he can help you process the unsettling thoughts and bring you toward a place of acceptance.
One of the benefits of journal writing, since it captures all of your unfiltered reflections, is you will begin to understand who you are. It will also help you see a solution and help you find healing. Journal writing will help you see who you are and changes you might want to make.
My suggestions for Journal Writing;
Journal writing has been used effectively for grief and loss; coping with life-threatening or chronic illness; recovery from addictions, eating disorders and trauma; repairing troubled marriages and family relationships; increasing communication skills; developing healthier self-esteem; getting a better perspective on life; and clarifying life goals.
Liz Birch is a licensed Marriage & Family Therapist who provides services in her office in Orange, CA but also has options for home-based psychotherapy. Her areas of expertise are in communications, relationships, marriage strengthening, stress reduction, depression, trauma, anxiety, anger, personal growth, and ptsd (civilian and military). She can be reached via LizBirchTherapist.com, email at LizBirchMFT@gmail.com, or by calling 714-614-0612.
Anger is a natural, though sometimes unwanted or irrational, emotion that everybody experiences from time to time. But sometimes we let this “anger” take over our lives.
While anger is in place primarily as a way of surviving and protecting us, too much of it can lead to detrimental emotional and physical changes. It can cause havoc in our own daily lives and for those we are closest to.
Constant anger can lead to depression, eating disorders, alcoholism and self-injury along with high blood pressure, increased heart rate, and increased adrenaline. Intense and constant anger can negatively affect your business relationships and especially your relationships with those you love the most. It can make a person rude, unapproachable and just plain hard to live with.
Anger is a secondary emotion, which is caused by and hides a deeper emotion. If your friend is untruthful to others about something you have done, you may get angry when what you are really feeling is hurt or betrayed. Anger is often caused by deep sadness and, most often of all; it’s caused by fear. Next time you are angry, slow down and really think about what you are “feeling”. Could you actually be feeling hurt, disappointed or are you fearful of something?
Any management of anger will require you to look at the deeper reasons for it. Sometimes, these may be half-forgotten, avoided, denied or buried. Often anger can be a need for control - of others, events or yourself. It is also often an existential issue caused by lack of meaning, loss, isolation or lack of freedom. If you address the deeper issues in counseling, you’ll begin to see certain triggers that present themselves which bring about your anger. Once these triggers are identified you can start to lower the amount of anger.
Resentment is a very corrosive, hidden and unpleasant form of anger. It’s a mixture of jealousy, frustration, bitterness and harbored injustice. It is a real joy killer. You simply cannot be happy if you have deep-seated resentments about someone close to you. It’s better to talk it over and see if you can reach a compromise. Ask yourself if the resentment you feel towards the other is about what you lack rather than what they have and address that honestly and positively in your own life – asking them to help with it as much as they can.
If anger is taking over you and negatively affecting your daily life with those you love, or those you work with, please seek out a therapist so you can begin the process of healing.
Liz Birch is a licensed Marriage & Family Therapist who provides services in her office in Orange, CA but also has options for home-based psychotherapy. Her areas of expertise are in communications, relationships, marriage strengthening, stress reduction, depression, trauma, anxiety, anger, personal growth, and ptsd (civilian and military).
She can be reached via LizBirchTherapist.com, email at LizBirchMFT@gmail.com, or by calling 714-614-0612.
Alexithymia is a clinical term for the inability to understand the intricacies of feelings and emotions. The existence and study of alexithymic experiences started in the 1970's. Some research suggests that alexithymia is more predominant in men than in women and is prevalent in approximately 10% of the general population. Alexithymia is also understood to have two components; a cognitive component where people might face challenges with thinking and emotions while trying to name, understand and talk about feelings, as well as an affective component where people might struggle with the experience of sharing, responding to and sensing emotions.
People who experience the effects of alexithymia might have these symptoms:
1. Difficulty identifying feelings
2. Difficulty distinguishing between feelings and the bodily sensations
3. A lack of impulse control
4. Violent or disruptive outbursts
5. Difficulty describing feelings to other people
6. Heightened sensitivity to sights, sounds, or physical touch
7.Limited imagination and, therefore, little or no fantasies and limited dreams
8. An unawareness of what is happening in their own mind and a very concrete way of thinking.
Alexithymia is known to be co-morbid with a number of psychiatric conditions. Therefore, when signs of Alexithymia are seen one might also look at depression, post traumatic stress disorder, brain injuries, substance abuse, and eating disorders, as it’s these diagnoses that one might harbor alexithymia.
But where does it come from? How does one end up with this personality construct of marked dysfunction in emotional awareness, social attachment and interpersonal relating? Some research has indicated that events happening in a person’s early childhood such as neglect or abuse but there are also cases of witnessing a horrifying event is known to trigger alexithymia.
If you, or someone you know, is displaying symptoms such as those described above please seek out the support of a licensed therapist. Therapy will often concentrate on building a foundation of naming emotions and appreciating a range of feelings. The process will likely include both consideration of the experiences of other people and self-reflection. For people who have no problem with emotional comprehension this might sound very basic, however, for a person with alexithymia the process of growing their emotional intelligence and capacity may be difficult.
Liz Birch is a licensed Marriage & Family Therapist who provides services in her office in Orange, CA but also has options for home-based psychotherapy. Her areas of expertise are in communications, relationships, marriage strengthening, stress reduction, depression, trauma, personal growth, ptsd and provides support to the military population and their families. She can be reached via LizBirchTherapist.com, email at LizBirchMFT@gmail.com, or by calling 714-614-0612.
Weiss, Thomas C. , Alexithymia: Information, Symptoms & Treatment Options, August 2012, Disabled World/heath/neurology/alexithymia
I'm a licensed Marriage & Family Therapist who works with individuals, couples and families. I hope I inspire you to take risks and step out of your comfort zone. You might be surprised what you discover.