When it comes to counselling and psychotherapy, the desire for change, the desire to be happier, to be free from emotional pain requires an accompanying understanding and mind set of tolerance to emotional pain and discomfort. Whilst current life difficulties invariably result in distress such as depression and excessive anxiety, dealing with the causes of the distress also brings contact with denied and unprocessed feelings and emotions. This is also very difficult and can seeming overwhelming to even come near it which can be part of the reason for distress in the first place as coping mechanisms used to help people deal with the emotional pain unwittingly causes the intensity of the feelings or lack of feelings to build over time to the point that it becomes unsustainable.
The healing aspect of therapy where experiences need to be processed means a different type of emotional pain and discomfort is encountered. With that it highlights the impasse people often get stuck between where the symptoms such as depression and OCD are down to the difficulty in dealing with the root causes of their distress such as death of a loved one or childhood trauma. Faced with such a situation there is an understandable desire to be relieved from the pain and ironically therapy which is a space of healing can at first glance be seen as a space that doesn’t evoke refuge because it doesn’t represent a pain free option. Doing the work of dealing with a painful past means eventual contact with the pain carried from unprocessed feelings. This is one thing that needs to be highlighted more in that the work of healing as often it get worse in the short term before it gets better in the long term due to the process of facing up the past in all its persuasions including in no particular order - loss, shame, guilt, anger, sadness, mourning, acceptance.
In the end it comes down to reaching a tipping point of being in a place to deal with the pain of the unknown future over the known pain of the past and present, either way there’s no pain free option when it comes making changes in your life and dealing with the emotional injuries and its legacy.