Individual Psychotherapy & Stress Reduction: 4 Basics
Individual case studies can enhance mental resilience and stress reduction. Increasing our capacity to cope with stress is a vital concern. A recent StatsCan study shows large recent increases in the number of Canadians over 15 who report that most days are extremely or quite stressful. Reducing stress matters a lot in a time like ours.
Since the great Dr. Hans Selye of the University of Montreal coined the term “stress” in 1950, our understanding has grown immensely. Selye and his colleagues have shown us very important things about this important psychological state:
It Can Cripple
Selye pioneered the connection between mental stress and its physical manifestations in coronary disease, ulcers and many other illnesses. In its physical manifestations, stress can rob us of our health, or sometimes even our life. Stress can also cripple us psychologically, taking our enjoyment of life, and, sometimes preventing us from carrying out even rudimentary tasks.
Personal Factors Can Increase Its Severity
Personal psychological factors can directly affect the way an individual handles stressful situations. A powerful example of this would be when an individual has experienced post traumatic stress disorder through physical abuse in childhood, violent crime or accident, exposure to combat, or similar factors. Other kinds of of psychological wounding also greatly increase the difficulty of dealing with stress.
Problem or Symptom?
All too often in therapy, symptoms are treated, and we think that eliminates the issue. But /a-midlife-transition knows that just treating stress may leave big underlying emotional issues untouched. There is a great deal more to us than initially meets the eye. Stress is often fundamentally connected to how we relate to ourselves and our lives.
Is Your Stress Related to Your Life Journey?
Stressful states can be related to what is going on in the deepest levels of the conscious and unconscious self. To put it in Jungian terms, if the way of life of a person is fundamentally at odds with the true nature, or the unlived life of that individual, this is an enormous stressor. This can especially be true at midlife. On the other hand, a better connection with his or her own real identity may often bring a dramatic reduction in an individual’s level of stress.
Personal stressors may be an urgent invitation from body and mind to embark on a personal journey of discovery of the true self.
What do you think about stress in our age? I’d welcome your comments or emails.
Brian Collinson, Psychotherapist & Jungian Analyst | Oakville, Burlington and Mississauga Ontario
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© 2011 Brian Collinson
2238 Constance Drive, Oakville, Ontario (near Mississauga)