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Therapy Blog for Orem, Spanish Fork & South Jordan
Learn How To Cope – Individual Therapy
As a marriage and family therapist who also does individual therapy, clients ask me what they should do to cope with emotions. There is a difference between coping with an uncomfortable emotion and avoiding that uncomfortable emotion. They are usually looking for a list of coping strategies. I hesitate to offer such a list without having this discussion first. Understanding the following principles can help your emotional health tremendously.
Coping Versus Avoiding
Anything you do to cope with an uncomfortable emotion can be either healthy or unhealthy. For example, if you watch shows online you could be using this to either help you cope with an emotion after you have picked it up. Or, you could be using shows to avoid picking up your emotion in the first place. It is imperative to recognize your emotions, feel your emotions and then and only then, are you able to cope with your emotions. If you try to skip from recognizing your emotions to coping, then you are avoiding it because you have not picked up anything. You are using that behavior, such as watching a show, to not feel. You are numbing.
This pattern leads to addiction. When you avoid feeling your emotions, they do not go away. But rather, they are still there influencing you. Because you do not want to and are trying not to feel them, you must continue to avoid and numb. The behavior you use to avoid and numb has to be done again and again and in larger quantities. Thus, leading to addiction.
As a therapist working with anxiety, depression, couples counseling, pornography addiction, I have noticed that anything can be used to avoid. Take, for example, religion. This practice is common in Utah. Some of you use religion in an unhealthy manner by using it to avoid your feelings.
For example, this can happen when you pretend you do not feel sad because you have certain church beliefs. You might believe that you shouldn’t feel sad because you have the Gospel. As if the Gospel takes away our uncomfortable emotions. However, everyone feels sad. When you pretend you do not feel sadness, you are untrue to yourself and it causes problems with your mental health and relationships.
Get Help In Individual Therapy
It takes emotional strength to pick up your emotion, feel it and then to cope with it. We are trained to help you do this in individual counseling or in couples therapy. We have counseling centers in South Jordan, Orem, American Fork and Spanish Fork.
Written by Triston Morgan PhD