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  • Writer's pictureMaria Alda Gomez Otero

Do you need an emotional workout?

#Counselling can be compared with an emotional workout. This means you will be asked to face your emotions, acknowledge and give a name to your feelings. Most of us have many feelings that are very easy to acknowledge and recognise, such as joy, but others are not so easy, such as anger or sadness. We tend to brush them under the carpet, hoping they will go away. They rarely do.

They usually come back with a vengeance, creating havoc in your life, as you see yourself taking unplanned (or unconscious) actions that bring you unwanted outcomes. That will translate into depression, anxiety, overthinking, you name it. In counselling, you will start to acknowledge and express the feelings that you want to suppress. It is like an emotional workout. At first, you may feel that your muscles get sore (it is uncomfortable to feel certain feelings), but little by little, you will get fitter (you will lighten up and feel happier).

As in a gym, some of us decide that we are fit enough and we only want to go the gym for a short while and then practice at home. We will not wish dramatic changes in our lives, only tweaking in certain areas i.e. finding a new job, grieving a loss or helping with an increasingly challenging relationship. You will face your feelings regarding the situation, understanding it from other perspectives and will leave counselling after a few months. You will not experience major changes, but you will become more aware of yourself and your life. It is like the gym goer who wishes to lose 10 pounds, achieves this goal, stops going to the gym, but exercising (facing and expressing emotions, especially difficult ones) is already part of their life.

Some of us become emotional workout junkies and want to understand human beings and ourselves more and more, delving into ourselves for years on end. This means that you will be starting a long journey of deeper discoveries of yourself and others, letting go of old patterns and creating new ones. This will translate into a completely different and fresh you, a more lively, intuitive, happier and more acceptant you. That will take time, maybe even years. Again, it is like the gym goer who wishes to lose 10 pounds and ends up committing to a lifetime of sports, maybe even making it a career.

No matter what path you choose for yourself (sometimes life chooses it for you), you will find that counselling is not always easy and it requires commitment, but it is worth it. This is a very simplistic view of counselling. There are many other aspects to counselling, besides being an emotional workout. However, it is indisputable that an important aspect of counselling is facing your suppressed emotions, underneath which you will find your playfulness, joy and spontaneity.

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