Therapy: A Radical Act of Self Care and Discovery
times when we are culturally given permission to claim and stand firm in our
mental, emotional, or physical spaces; we hear statements such as “Do You” or
“Speak Your Truth.” But what often happens is this reclamation of independence
is celebrated, until reality sets in that to “Do You” and “Speak Your Truth”
comes at a cost. The cost of unraveling the “you” that was handed to you along
the way through the relational lens of family, peers, career, spirituality,
At the unraveling stage of healing, you start to feel like a stranger to yourself which makes this thing called therapy, a resource to help you, feel like it’s the very thing that threatens you…. should you fight, flight, or freeze? No! You should stay and BE because this first stage is needed for you to learn how to not operate and respond on autopilot in all the ways you adapted through your survivor mode to past traumas or direct/indirect messages of how you accessorized others’ sense of well-being. This is the stage where you start to become aware and pay attention the “hmmms” and “ahhhs” of your intuition that you disconnected from or stop trusting at a certain point.
The bridge stage of healing soon follows which is the phase of healing where you start to feel a little more settled in your healing space and realize your resilience is stronger that your fear of unraveling…..and honestly you have already done the hardest part which is surviving. During the bridge phase, you start to recognize you can’t logic your way out of your emotions and you can’t feel yourself away from your thoughts. You need to connection of mind, body, spirit to honor and recognize the totality of your human experience through your wounds and your healing. In survivor mode, the bottom part of our brain becomes active as the upper parts shut down to prepare for the objective at hand to just survive some way some how. Our bodies and mind then continues to form a habit around what we know to work in our physical and emotional times of need, which is compartmentalizing or approaching life through “black and white” terms. The problem with that is while surviving works through compartmentalization, living and healing works through connection of whole being. The bridge stage starts to merge all the pieces of you and evokes the questions “what of my past do I keep because it informs and serves my direction, growth, and goals?” “What part of my past do I need to thank for getting me this far, but I now need to let go because holding it beyond it’s immediate purpose is starting to hinder my direction, growth, and goals?”
The interdependence stage is the later phase of healing where you understand the importance of defining, re-defining, and claiming your own sense of self, while accepting that the quality of connection with others serve as a reflection and periodic self inventory to how you nurture or neglect your care of self. I intentionally did not state this as the end of healing, because healing is not a linear process and life is a delicate balance of surviving, existing, and thriving. The attention in this stage is on self-preservation. The rules for this stage are the development and re-development of boundaries. The practice of this stage is accountability. And the on going question of this stage is “where do others end, where do I begin, and do we make for a healthy or unhealthy blend?”
To walk into an unfamiliar space with an unfamiliar face to put into question the known of survival and/or dysfunction and commit to the unknown towards healing is therapy at its essence. Now THAT’s a radical act of self-love and discovery that deserves to be revered as the strength it is!
Shameitra N. Green, LMFT
Founder of Nexus Therapy
*Shameitra Green is a psychotherapist and founder of her private practice, Nexus Therapy, where she serves adolescents, adults, and families in Pearland. TX and surrounding areas. Shameitra’s client populations include individuals and families dealing with complex trauma and PTSD, survivors of neglect and sexual abuse, grief, and attachment disorders. Shameitra also provides trauma informed trainings and consultation to assist with agencies, schools, and trauma professionals in enhancing their trauma informed best practices.