For Part 1 of the Self-Awareness Series, click here.
For Part 2 of the Self-Awareness Series, click here.
For Part 3 of the Self-Awareness Series, click here.
For Part 4 of the Self-Awareness Series, click here.
Therapy involves a trained professional listening and responding to your presenting concerns from an outside perspective. Therapists guide you in gaining insight on your problems, and help you to generate solutions for working through them.
What better way to become more self-aware than to engage in a process that is essentially aimed at increasing your self-awareness?
What Therapy Can Reveal to You About Yourself That You Did Not Know
- Your needs and desires
- Patterns or themes in your life
- Things that make you unique
- Your strengths and areas for growth
- What makes you happy
- What makes you tearful
- What makes you angry
- Your deepest fears
- Values and beliefs that are important to you
- The different roles you play in your life and how they impact your mental health
You may have grazed through that list like, “Yeah. Mhm. Yep. I know that one.” At first glance, it may seem like things you possibly already know. For example, you may know that traveling makes you happy, video clips of soldiers coming home to surprise their family members make you cry, and you fear dying at a young age. But going to therapy can help you to understand yourself on a deeper level. You may find that you are not fulfilled in your relationships because you have a pattern of leaving people or pushing them away when they get ‘too close’. You may find that this stems from a trauma you experienced in the past, or even a deep rooted insecurity that tells yourself you don’t deserve to be happy and have healthy relationships.
Furthermore, as humans, we are constantly changing each second of each day. What worked for you back in 2010 may not work for you in 2019. And just as we take the time to learn our loved ones as they change, we must commit to learning about our changing selves. Therapy is a great avenue for this self-exploration and journey through self-awareness.
Different Types of Therapies to Increase Self-Awareness
Just you, yourself, and the therapist. Some serious introspection and self-exploration can occur here. If you feel that you have “internal battles” or struggle in really getting to the root of your personal issues, individual therapy is the way to go.
If you’re in a relationship or marriage and find that your own issues or your partner’s personal issues are impacting the quality of the relationship, look no further than couples therapy as a way to get to the bottom of that. Between you, your partner, and your couples therapist, you can pinpoint a specific problem, work toward solving that problem as well as gaining tools and techniques to solve future problems that will arise.
For example, many couples come to therapy presenting with concerns about household chores and responsibilities.
“You never do the laundry!”
“You always half-ass the dishes!”
In couples therapy, we know that the deeper issue is likely not about laundry or the dishes. Rather, we know that the partner presenting with the complaints may feel as though their partner does not appreciate the hard work they do, or that partner may feel that they’re receiving a message that their partner doesn’t care about the things that are important to them. What are the deeper issues in your relationship that impact you personally? Couples therapy is the place to sort through all of those issues and feelings.
In similar fashion, family therapy would be the ideal place to work out issues that impact the entire family system. How does your mother or father make you feel about yourself? What family values were instilled in you when you were younger that impact the ways in which you navigate the world today?
Group therapy is diverse in nature and can look a number of different ways. But something that all groups have in common is that they are typically centered around a specific topic or issues. Examples include anxiety, grief, sexual trauma, and LGBT identities. If you have a specific issue in your life that you’re struggling to control, group therapy might provide the support, validation, and connection you may need in order to grow in self-awareness surrounding this issue and move forward.
How have your experiences in therapy allowed you to become more self-aware? What are some things that you have learned about yourself in the process? Comment below.