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  • Writer's pictureAndrew

Get to know your Stress

Updated: Dec 3, 2018

As a therapist - For me when I think about Stress and working with people presenting with stress

in therapy, it brings up a lot of assumptions. Probably one of the biggest ones been that all stress is

bad, which is certainly not true. We already know that a lot of people choose to interpret stress as

something harmful. Instead we firstly need to understand our relationship with stress and the

context before learning to cope and manage it.

Psycho-education - around stress would be one of the initial steps which can support the client with a better understanding of how to embark upon their journey of stress management. Stress is our

body’s way of responding to a treat whether real or imagined. Which stimulates the body’s defense into an automatic process or reaction commonly known as “fight or flight”. This is the body’s way of responding to the stress.

Acknowledge - when stress is present although it sounds obvious it is something that needs

attention. As before we can ever ignite change we need to recognise our experiences. As too often

we are caught up and sometimes even overwhelmed by our own experience that we don’t or can’t

acknowledge while it is happening. Similar to the idea that we are so caught up in a movie we don’t realise we are in a cinema.

Not always your Enemy - it can be related to meaning and purpose as we would hardly get stressed about something we didn’t care about? How can you care about it differently?

Allow - yourself to feel the stress, as it will not be as you fear it to be. It will pass. Whereas

avoidance pushes stress down the road and into the future. We need to try and embrace it and

sometimes move closer to it in order to manage it. Even manage and befriend it through our

understanding and context and meet it with an attitude of openness. However this is all easier said

than done.

Why Therapy? - A therapist can offer support in helping to identify the cause the triggers and

implement coping mechanisms to help manage and cope with the impact of the stress upon us. It is

like going to a fashion designer and helping to creating a suit or dress that is “tailor made for us” and our own individual needs rather than picking up something in a generic department store. The

therapist will be able to collaborate with the client fine tune the needs and support over a number

of sessions that no amount of self-help books could support. It is the relationship, the holding

support and encouragement and validation that in itself can offer the client a whole new perspective on how to embrace and manage their own journey through stress.

Some Interventions - The therapist can listen to the clients self-talk and the expectations that they

may be placing on themselves. Using words like “should” and “must” can leave us feeling

disappointed or even as failures when we don’t follow through. This adds an extra layer of stress and criticism. By working with a therapist we can learn to be more compassionate and forgiving of our self and our responsibilities to eliminate some of these unrealistic expectations.

The introduction of Mindfulness practice is something that a lot of clients find useful, looking at

exercise diet, sleep in a real holistic view of the client can identify areas where improvement are

made.

Overall - we are not trying to eliminate stress, we are instead trying to support your experiences and give you tools to recognise and manage stress for yourself.


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