Truth be told, there are lots of false myths about psychotherapy. One area of mental health I'm passionate about (there are many!) is helping to educate people on what counseling is and how it can help immensely, especially if you're a young adult dealing with anxiety, depression or challenging life transitions. If you're interested in exploring the idea of getting therapy and unsure about what you might gain from the experience, read on! In your quest for more information regarding psychological services, you may wonder, "how to therapists actually help their patients achieve their goals?" Below is a round-up of the six areas I tend to work on most with my clients:
1 | Cultivating mindfulness
Some clients come in with an awareness that they live too fast-paced a lifestyle, but don’t quite know how to slow down. Others have tried to “control” their emotions, or “distract themselves” from their issues. Do any of these sound like you? I know that when I started practicing mindfulness I had the toughest time getting out of "auto-pilot" and staying attuned to the present moment. And even when I did bring my awareness to the present, I would have judgmental thought about what I noticed! The area of self-growth I teach/coach/model for my clients most is developing mindfulness — or a non-judgemental attitude of the present moment. Learn more about mindfulness for young adults, online meditation programs and Los Angeles mindfulness resources.
2 | Developing self-care practices
Many of my clients are very driven and success-oriented. This is their greatest strength, but can also leave them stressed and not well taken care of. Helping clients realize they not only need but also deserve rest, relaxation and recovery is a huge part of my practice. Self-care is broad term that refers to a variety of activities and practices — it generally means anything you do just for you. For a lot of us this manifests as eating healthfully, exercising more, learning yoga, journaling, trying acupuncture, and finding time to meditate, even with our packed schedules. I also help client to tackle the false beliefs (e.g. "I've gotta work hard and there's no time for rest") that prevent them from making time for themselves.
3 | Building community
So many people who live in Los Angeles are actually L.A. “transplants” (i.e. moved here for school or work) and haven’t quite found their “tribe” yet. When you're in school it's so much easier to make friends because you have class together, live in dorms together and work on projects together, etc. But what are young adults to do once they've graduated and don't have that school to rely on for instant access to a social life? I recommend clients to push past their comfort zone to reach out to new friends and face social anxiety. This also includes removing “toxic” people from their lives who are not bringing positivity.
4 | Improving self-worth
Most everyone can improve in the area of self-love. For me, cultivating self-acceptance and self-compassion is an ongoing practice. There are many things in our past that contribute to how much we value and love ourselves unconditionally. Much of the messaging we receive as we grow up is implicit and unconscious — in other words, it's not so much what our parents said to us, but how they treated us and modeled (or didn't model) having self-love. Some clients are the child of a narcissistic parent or an abusive parent. Some have anxious attachment. Much work is centered on clients understanding their inherent value. Read more about how to boost up self-confidence.
5 | Moving forward in one's career
Lots of employed millennials feel “stuck,” dissatisfied, bored or undervalued in their current positions, but stay in the job out of fear of the unknown (i.e. "How will I support myself?") Much of what I do with young adults revolves around helping clients develop assertiveness at work and a belief in their ability to find more fulfilling work. Whether this means switching gears, starting their own venture or finding a better fit within their current field, I help 20- and 30-somethings achieve clarity and take actions that will propel them forward in their careers and in their lives.
6 | Working through past hurts
Everyone has challenging past experiences that prevent them from enjoying life fully and achieving their goals. Much of the work I do with clients involves exploring past hurts, reflecting on how these traumas have shaped the person’s current life and helping them identify conscious alternatives. The main tenet of somatic (mind/body) psychotherapy is that trauma is trapped in the body as subtle muscle tension. And so the way we address this is through not only talking about the traumatic events and the feelings that arise, but also exploring and addressing the body sensations that come up, as well. This process allows the trauma to be released and healed.
I hope this list was enlightening to you! Now you have a little spotlight onto what goes on in therapy sessions (at least with me!) Of course, it would be impossible to address every aspect of a psychotherapy appointment in a blog post (or even in an entire blog!) but this is simply a teaser for you. Not it's your turn. Have you been in therapy before or are you currently in counseling? Please share in the comments below any experiences you've had in therapy that helped you cultivate healthy habits. Are you just curious about how you can improve your mental health with or without a professional? Please share what you'd like to know in the comments section. Thank you so much for reading and be well.
about the author
Hi! I'm Natalie. And my passion is helping people live more peaceful, meaningful lives. Through holistic therapy in Pasadena and here on the blog, my mission is to provide people with the support and tools they need to live their best life.