Category Archives: Therapy

Different types of therapy for building your confidence

Is My Therapy Going Right?

I got a question via email last week about how to tell when therapy is working. Here it is, along with my answer:

I have been in psychoanalysis to treat emotional abuse for 4 years now, and am still in a really bad place. I exploded in anger and stopped talking to my mother, father, family and friends only writing to them to wish them dead in horrible ways. Then I burst into tears a few times realizing my friends do care and love me. But I am still feeling bad despite having been crying a lot in the past year and having a much better relationship with friends and family. I feel confused and lost. I wonder whether I should change therapists as after 4 years I still feel "like shit" and cannot work properly. Many thanks.

Thanks for your question; I'll do my best to give you an answer based just on the little bit that you've told me. I get that at the moment you feel "like shit" as you've had 4 years of psychoanalysis and still cannot work properly, so you're wondering if your therapy is going right or whether you should change therapists.

How do you know if therapy is really working?

How do you know if therapy is really working?

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Sacred Sexual Healing

Sacred sexual healers deal with psychological, emotional and physical issues on a sexual and spiritual level. They harness the intense power of our sexuality to heal emotional wounds, and they handle sexual issues directly often by dealing with the guilt, fear and shame that many of us have around sex.

You visit either a Daka (male) or Dakini (female) sacred sexual healer and participate in healing rituals that vary according to what they sense your underlying issues are.

For example say your lack of confidence is causing, or caused by, sexual dysfunction. A Dakini can help you by going all the way through the sexual process with you and identifying any potential points at which you might be getting anxious, or any other issues that might be coming up for you. This is better than dealing with your sexual issues by practicing on unsuspecting women you meet, who haven't agreed to be used for that.

Advantages:

  • You learn to set boundaries

  • Great at dealing with guilt, fear and shame

  • Harness the power of sexuality for healing purposes

  • The healer may be willing to go places nobody else will

  • Liberate sexual tension from your body

Disadvantages:

  • Sacred Sexual healers aren't licensed therapists

  • About as extreme and non-mainstream as therapy can get.

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Acting Classes

Taking an acting class isn't your traditional type of therapy, but it can dramatically boost your self-confidence. The great thing about acting classes is that they give you permission to expand the emotional boundaries of your personality, and you discover that you aren't as limited as you thought.

Acting teacher Sanford Meisner described acting as “Living truthfully under imaginary circumstances". When you learn to act, you confront those areas of your life where you're inhibited, holding back, and living in-authentically. You also get permission to go into areas where your personality normally wouldn't go, and realize that there are other authentic roles in life that you could play than the one you've been playing up till now.

Acting is particularly good at affirming your emotional nature as a human being. If you normally hold back on expressing how you feel, an acting class will snap you out of it. Even just being in an environment with creative people whose lifeblood depends on the ability to feel and express emotion is liberating.

If you want to meet women, an acting class is a great place to do it. You'll work together on scripts and scenes where they'll get to see a side of you that you probably don't often show and may not even be aware of at the moment.… Continue reading…

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Shamanic Healing

The word Shaman simply means “healer”, but when I first came across Shaminism I had to overcome my own latent prejudice from my Christian background. Lucky I did, because the Shamanic healing training I've done has been the most powerful of everything I've tried.

Your typical modern-day Shaman uses a combination of ancient healing techniques mixed with ideas from modern psychology. Shamans often use rituals to trigger your mind and body's natural emotional and physical healing processes.

Advantages:

  • Rituals bypass our subconscious blockages that prevent natural healing

  • Uses ancient wisdom discovered over centuries

  • Integrates modern psychology and therapy practices

Disadvantages:

  • It's all a bit woo-woo

  • Shamanic healers aren't licensed therapists

  • You may be so skeptical that it won't work, or you won't try it

  • Some rituals involve substances that are toxic and/or mind-altering

  • Mainstream therapists tend to disapprove of Shamanic healers

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Life Coaching

A good life coach helps you identify your core values, picture your dream life congruent with these values, set goals to strive towards in making your dream a reality, and break your goals down into small achievable steps that you can take to work towards achieving them. It's about working out what will make you most happy and fulfilled in life, developing a plan to help you get there, and supporting you along the way.

Having a coach is like having a friend who is always really honest with you and on your side no matter what. They can help you celebrate your successes and motivate you when the going gets tough so you don't give up. They also help you identify and resolve blind spots, emotional barriers and other issues that get in the way of your personal happiness which you mightn't otherwise recognize.

You might think that a good friend could do everything for you that a life coach can, and that would be true if your friends are all positive, encouraging, success-oriented and don't let their personal agenda get in the way of supporting you. Friends often lack the objectivity to tell us what we really need to hear, and few of them are trained in coaching people to be successful.… Continue reading…

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Men's Groups

Men's Groups are a stepping stone between group therapy and the real world, aimed at dealing with issues from a masculine perspective. You can be open and honest without being labelled sexist or worrying what the women will think. Traditional tribal groups passed on secret men's business to boys when they were initiated into manhood, but modern western society leaves most boys bewildered when we become men. This is one of the rare opportunities you get to discuss men's wisdom and pass it on.

Joining a Men's Group is a great way to build self-confidence.

Joining a Men's Group is a great way to build self-confidence.

A good men's group has a range of ages and life experiences, where everyone can both contribute and learn from each other. It's also an opportunity to get the fathering that you may have missed out on if your father was passive, physically or emotionally absent. Leadership of the group often rotates, giving you the opportunity to learn to lead other men. It's a chance to get in touch with your masculine power.

Many of the successful men I know are members of a men's group. They are highly recommended in Steve Biddulph's excellent book Manhood. I attend a monthly men's group, and find it tremendously valuable.… Continue reading…

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12-Step Groups

12-Step groups are a form of group therapy, based on the spiritual, emotional and personal development program created by Alcoholics Anonymous for recovering addicts. The program uses a combination of peer support and peer pressure to get you to stop the self-destructive addictive behaviors that are ruining your relationships and your life, while you work in the group on the deeper emotional and spiritual issues that underlie these behaviors.

There are groups for virtually every type of neurosis: Alcoholics Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous, Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous, mental illness recovery, and general personal development groups based on the 12-step program. The really powerful thing about 12-step groups is that everyone, including the group facilitators who are themselves recovering addicts, can relate to what you're going through.

Advantages:

  • The purpose of the group is usually well defined, based on the particular addiction

  • Other people really understand what you're going through

  • Encourages extremely honest sharing

  • Widespread and easy to find

  • Very inexpensive

  • Good peer support

  • Offers a spiritual path in addition to emotional healing

Disadvantages:

  • You end up hanging around with other people with the same problem or dysfunction

  • Once-an-addict always-an-addict philosophy can prevent full recovery

  • You tend to see everything as an addiction, even normal behavior

  • Not everyone can stomach the idea of a higher power

  • You can become addicted to the group process

  • Leaving the group and moving on can be difficult
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Group Therapy

Talking about how you feel in a supportive group with a trained facilitator is powerful. In doing so you release the emotional charge behind what's bothering you, heal your sense of shame around the issues you expose, and learn assertive communication skills for dealing with groups of people all at the same time. This is particularly powerful at dealing with one of the biggest factors that undermines our self-confidence: shame. It is a logical next-step from individual therapy, and many therapists run groups as an adjunct to individual therapy.

The most powerful short-term group process I've come across is Path of Love. Longer term groups that involve open, honest sharing in a non-judgmental environment are likely to be the most beneficial in the long term.

Advantages:

  • You discover that you are not alone

  • Powerfully de-shaming

  • Helps you transition skills learned in therapy to using them in the real world

  • You learn to deal with conflict

  • You learn to handle other people projecting onto you

  • Can offer more support than individual therapy

Disadvantages:

  • Requires a skilled facilitator and/or strong ground rules, or the group can degenerate

  • Potential for conflict with other group members to distract you from dealing with your own issues.

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Journey Therapy

Based on The Journey by Brandon Bays, this form of therapy is guided by a facilitator trained to offer unconditional loving positive support in exploring emotional areas you may otherwise avoid. The process engages your creative imagination as the facilitator leads you through a custom-built story in which you replace troubling emotions from past experiences with peace, love and acceptance.

Advantages:

  • It's fun and creative

  • Anyone can learn to facilitate it

  • Encourages development of creativity

  • You get to tell a new, positive story

Disadvantages:

  • Therapeutic value depends on the skill of the facilitator

  • Won't help develop your communication skills as much as talking therapies
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Guided Visualization

A guided visualization is an active form of meditation where a facilitator guides you through an imaginary sequence that includes emotional healing elements. It may involve looking at your childhood or other events in your past from a different perspective, or constructing completely new experiences that have powerful positive emotions behind them.

The facilitator may be present or may be on a CD or MP3 player. Background music helps get into the mood. You can also construct guided visualizations yourself. Visualizing yourself succeeding at some task has a powerful positive effect on your self-confidence and allows you to rehearse or practice an important task before an event. It is often referred to as mental rehearsal and is used by many sport and public speaking professionals.

Advantages:

  • You can construct a new past for yourself, if the old one was really awful

  • You can purchase guided visualizations on CD or MP3 format for home use

  • Easy to do in groups

  • Can be tailored to your personal needs

  • Limited only by your imagination

Disadvantages:

  • Usually not very interactive

  • Wide range of effectiveness of facilitators

  • May have to try a few to find one that really works for you

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