Are you asking yourself ‘do I need to talk about the past to feel better?’ If so this article might be useful to you.
Often people think that going to therapy is all about focusing on talking about the past and things that have happened to you. Whilst this is sometimes the case, therapy might be different to what you are expecting…
Things that we have gone through in the past and our early experiences are certainly important factors. However approaches like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) often focus to a greater degree on your present life and how you are feeling and coping from day to day at the moment.
CBT allows you to explore what areas are maintaining current problems in the here and now, and looks to the past to answer the question of ‘why’ you were vulnerable to difficulties both starting and continuing.
For example, if you have been badly hurt by someone in the past, it may change how you deal with others in the present – such as being overly cautious or preventing them from being close to you emotionally. Often such ways of dealing with things are perfectly logical given experiences you have had in the past. They may not, however, be the most helpful ways of coping.
Your therapist will therefore often help you draw lines between current ways of coping, and where they have come from. This gives you the opportunity to explore if they are still useful ways of coping, or whether alternative strategies might be better as you move into the future.
We hope this article has given you some idea about how the past can be focused on in therapy – however there is no substitute to discussing your individual situation with a qualified and experienced therapist.