NYC Psychotherapist Blog

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Monday, July 28, 2014

Psychotherapy Blog: How Therapy Can Help You to Develop a New Perspective About Yourself and Others

In a prior article, Gaining a New Perspective in Therapy About Yourself and Others, I discussed how ingrained negative thoughts can impact the assumptions that you make about yourself and others.  I also discussed that therapy can help you to develop a new perspective.

In this article, I'll be expanding on these ideas and giving examples of how therapy can be helpful to overcome these problems.

Let's take a look at an example, which is, as always, a composite of many different cases:

At the point when Bob came to therapy, he was having problems with his self esteem and forming new interpersonal relationships.

How Therapy Can Help You to Develop a New Perspective About Yourself and Others

Although he had a good career where he mostly worked on his own, he wasn't happy.  He came to therapy because he felt completely frustrated and wanted to learn how to develop better social skills.

Bob was in his late 20s and he was fairly isolated in his personal life. Although he dated occasionally, he had never been in a serious relationship.

He had a few friends from his college days when he was thrown together with other students at the dorm.  But these friends were in relationships now and he didn't see them as much as before, so Bob was pretty lonely.

He wanted to make new friends and have a girlfriend, but he didn't know how to go about forming anything other than superficial relationships in his personal life.

One of Bob's former college buddies, Andy, suggested that Bob begin therapy.

Although they rarely saw each other any more, they talked on the phone, and Bob used Andy as a sounding board. Andy helped Bob to see that his poor sense of self and his generally negative opinions about others were distorted.

Whenever Bob talked to Andy about a particular situation, he knew that what Andy told him made sense and he was able to develop a new perspective about the situation at hand.  But whenever Bob found himself in a new situation and he tried to deal with it on his own, he often misjudged the situation.  He recognized this in hindsight, but his recognition didn't carry over to the next situation.

As Bob talked to me about his family history, he recalled a chaotic household where his parents frequently argued and had little time for Bob.

Whenever he would try to talk to his parents about all the arguments they had with each other, they would deny that there were problems.  They would tell Bob that there was nothing wrong so that, over time, he came to mistrust his own judgment about what was going on.  He felt uneasy and confused.  He also didn't feel close to his parents, who remained preoccupied with themselves.

Bob grew up feeling uneasy around new people.  He was able to make a few friends in high school, but it was usually because other people made an effort to get to know him.

Bob did well in college academically and, once again, he made friends with students who sought him out.  He also dated a little, but he lacked confidence most of the time to ask women out on dates.

After he graduated, he developed a successful career.  Even though he felt awkward around his coworkers, created problems with forming work relationships, he had excellent technical skills.  So, his bosses tended to overlook his interpersonal shortcomings.

But trying to cope with his own lack of confidence and skittishness around others was becoming exhausting for Bob.  And, even though he made a lot of money, he wasn't happy.  He felt lonely and his life lacked meaning.

During the initial stage of therapy, Bob often seemed on the verge of leaving.  He knew, on an intellectual level, that it would take time to develop a rapport with me in therapy.  On an emotional level, he wondered if therapy was really going to help him and if he could trust me or any therapist.

Since Bob had never been in therapy before, I provided him with psychoeducation about therapy in general and, specifically, how I work as a therapist.

Over time, Bob started to get more comfortable in therapy and we began to explore the negative thoughts he had about himself and others.

Since he lacked trust in his own ability to understand what was going on interpersonal situations, he took a defensive stance and he assumed the worst about people as a way of protect himself emotionally.

Gradually, Bob was able to see the connection between his current life and his family history:  As a child, his family life was chaotic, his parents were emotionally neglectful with him.  Since he was unable to form an emotional bond in his earliest relationships with his parents, he had difficulty later on forming attachments with others.  And, since he was told constantly by his parents that nothing was wrong at home, he doubted his own perceptions.

There was no quick fix for these problems.  But, once Bob felt more comfortable with me and the psychotherapy process, we were able to use EMDR to work on the problems from his family history as well as the current situation.

We also used clinical hypnosis and Somatic Experiencing to help him to build a greater sense of self esteem.

After a while, as Bob developed more self confidence, he became less defensive about meeting new people and he began to socialize more easily.

How Therapy Can Help You Develop a New Perspective About Yourself and Others

Since he was feeling more comfortable around others, he no longer had the need to defensively see them in a negative light.  Therapy helped him to free himself from his history so that he was able to develop a new perspective about himself and others.

Getting Help in Therapy
If you're having problems with self doubt that impacts your interpersonal relationships, you can free yourself from your history by getting help from a licensed mental health professional who has expertise in this area.

About Me
I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapist who works with individual adults and couples.

I have helped many clients to overcome their emotional problems so they could lead more fulfilling lives.

To find out more about me, visit my website:  Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist.

To set up a consultation, call me at (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.