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How Does Therapy Work?

Written and reviewed by
Masters In Psychology , CBT - Cognitive Behavioral Therapy , REBT Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy, BArch
Psychologist, Thane  •  16 years experience
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My name is Guruprasad Shivakumar. I’m a counselling psychologist and I am an expert in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and acceptance commitment therapy. And today I am going to talk about how therapy works. A lot of time clients ask me that how does therapy work, and when do we need to talk therapy and all that. So, along with me you also do this small exercise you know, imagine that in front of you there is a wall, on that wall imagine that all the things are there that you want in your life. All the people, all the great things you want to achieve, or all the thing that you want to do. Also imagine that there all the different steps of struggle that you go through in life, that too are present on that wall, where there is a lot of pain, a lot of things that you are trying to resist or avoid things, or the people who you don’t want to meet, even they are actually present. It is basically this world’s representation of our life. Also imagine that on this wall itself there are lots of other issues you deal like the conflict with your son, the maid not coming on the day, your health problems, your cold cases, the new GST bills, all that is also on that wall. And also there are things that you want to do on regular bases like cooking, meeting people, staying with your baby, driving, and maybe paying taxes. Now, let’s imagine that your hands are your thoughts and follow me when I am actually doing this exercise. Now let imagine that my, my hands are my thoughts, and your hands are your thoughts and these thoughts are actually coming, and you know, trying to suppress all those things you can see on the wall. The good things, the bad things, the good feelings, the bad feelings, everything that is there on the wall, all the thing that you want to do in life or you perform daily, the routine and everything. That all which is there on the wall you know, now in your thoughts and feelings are actually coming and hitting on your face somewhere. You are not able to see that. You actually do this, like you know, just put those hands on your face. Now let’s see what happens when you get hooked with thoughts. You know, when you have on your face, now you are hooked with your thoughts and feelings you are not able to get out of them and they are so defused in what you want to do that even if you are trying to, trying really hard, you are not able to figure out what exactly has to be done.

Now when you have covered your eyes with these hands and you are not able to see a lot of stuff. Firstly, see how much you are missing out right now. How disconnected and engaged you are because of this action. You are disengaged from the people that matter, the things you want to do, the things that you want to perform. If the person you love the most is right in front of you, you are still disengaged because if you want to get connected, you are completely disconnected, because of your thoughts and feelings. Secondly, also notice how difficult it is to focus your attention on the things you need to do. If there is an important task you need to do right now, how difficult it is to do it. If there is a problem that needs attention right now, it would be the most difficult thing to tackle with all this kind of thoughts and feelings that are fusing you and not able to make you perform these actions. Thirdly, notice how difficult it is to take action because bot your hands are engaged in you to know, trying to avoid the things you don’t want to see, or you don’t want to experience certain kind of feelings, or you are trying to resist certain kind of this definitely doesn’t let you take actions. Small actions that make your life better, small work, the small routine that you want to do every day.

So, as you are already experiencing the darkness, you know, you are not able to see, you are not able to perform a couple of actions that are required on a day to day bases like you know, looking out for your baby, doing small things, stuffing your routine, driving, or going from one place to another, or just being with your spouse, to cook a dinner, to be with you baby, or just to drive, so all that is becoming much more difficult to take an action. Now, slowly remove your hands from your face, and see what happens when you are unhooked from your thoughts. The moment you are unhooked from your thoughts. Thoughts are there, you are not resisting them, you can still see them, you know, and we have not just chopped or not just cut it off, they are still there with us, but now we are okay with the thoughts. You know we are, we know how to manage this thought and that’s what therapy is. What therapy does is in action it teaches and enables you to manage your thoughts and feelings in a different way. It doesn’t change anything. It doesn’t change your thoughts, you know, it doesn’t make you think, it doesn’t change your circumstances, but it definitely changes the way you are managing the things right now. You know, the managing the thoughts and feeling right now. It just makes things more accessible. It puts on those thoughts somewhere on maybe like on a table and you are free to do a lot of other things. You see even really painful thoughts and memories are that kind of information also has some amount of importance in our life. Maybe it just tells us how to do things differently. Simply reminding us that you know, how we can be much kinder to others and to self, and if there is nothing we can do with these thoughts, useful with these thoughts, just let them sit there and be there, rather than trying to fuse them with your day to day working. Usually, Psychotherapy helps you and supports you in managing these thoughts differently, memories differently, the way you handle things are different. If you have any further queries, you can contact me through Lybrate.

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