Why talk about it?!

You’re experiencing anxiety, depression, or just a lack of motivation or sense of confusion about what to do and how to do it. If there was a pill you could take that just fixed it, you’d happily take it. You’ve read up on psychology, and maybe even learned that recent neuroscience seems to show that your symptoms are in fact biological. Maybe it’s a lack of serotonin.  Maybe it’s all structural deficiencies in the brain. Perhaps a genetic predisposition, or the wrong bacteria (or not enough of the right ones) in your gut.

So why talk about it? Why might that help?

Of course your symptoms are biological; you are biological! And yet, just because you can observe the symptoms in biology doesn’t necessarily make a drug or a lobotomy the thing you most need, now. Let’s try an analogy from software development.

As a software developer, an analogy that works for me is a memory leak. If you’re a developer in a language that gives you the responsibility for managing your own memory, you’ve probably written one (or a lot!) of these bugs before. Even if you’re not  a developer, who hasn’t seen the results of one? We all know what happens: over minutes or hours or days, your app slows down, your computer slows down with it, as that process happily slurps up memory. When that happens, your see your system’s memory used up, and you might hear (or feel!) your old hard disk groan to keep up with the OS’s attempt to swap some stuff out and make room.

Just because you see the bug in its effects on your computer’s hardware, doesn’t mean that’s where the problem should get fixed. Imagine writing this memory leak and then telling your customer/boss/whoever that it’s their problem to fix — they just need to buy more (and more!) memory! Or, just restart the program every few minutes! Sure, that might be appropriate as a stopgap, in an emergency, but we all know that’s not the real fix. It’s a software issue that manifests itself in hardware — but really fixing it means changed software. Even though you could see the increased activity inside your computer with a logic probe, that’s not going to get you very far if you want to fix it.

See where I’m going with this?

In psychotherapy, you learn the skills to more efficiently debug your thinking and develop new ways to adapt to your environment. The therapist uses proven strategies to help you see the connection between your past, present and future while working with you on tools that last a lifetime. A good therapist doesn’t attempt to “reprogram” you, but listens to and partners with you, like a good colleague, to help you take the next step. And for folks that struggle with biological issues, psychotherapy is in many cases one of the most effective ways to learn to cope with those struggles and reduce their negative impact on the rest of your life.

Are you ready for the next step? If you’re located in the Seattle area, let’s meet for a 30-minute free evaluation session. Visit the Contact page today.

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