If you are reading this as someone who has made the decision to seek out therapy – or even if you are still simply considering whether therapy could be the right choice for you – you might have spent an extended period of time in your life feeling that you don’t really have your own voice.
Indeed, when a lot of us think about therapy, we picture the stereotypical “psychiatrists’ couch” scenario, or at least a situation where we are required to be “confessional”. And being confessional is hardly something that some of us are greatly accustomed to in our usual day-to-day lives.
The connection between your reasons for seeking therapy, and your ‘voice’
Of course, you might not initially contemplate therapy with the idea that you need to find your “voice”. Instead, the notion of seeking out a mental health professional’s services may have come to you due to a seemingly specific set of circumstances, such as difficulties in your relationships, feeling stressed at work, or having issues going back to your childhood that you wish to work through.
For other would-be clients of therapists, though, their ostensible reasons for seeking out therapy might be a little more… general. In your case, you might have felt low quite often lately, and be unsure why. Or you may have longstanding low self-esteem that you wish to address, or feel that you have insufficient sense of purpose and meaning in your life.
These are, of course, all absolutely valid reasons for showing an interest in therapy. However, there is also a distinction to be made between what mental health practitioners call “the presenting issue”, and what could be regarded as “the real reason” for a given individual seeking out therapeutic support.
Often, people wishing to access therapy are, in effect, yearning to be their “true selves”. They may be living lives in which they do not feel able to express themselves authentically, or to live out their own truth. In other words, they lack a voice, and whether they consciously realise it or not, they have sought out a therapist’s services, in large part to help them find that voice.
So, how can therapeutic support assist you in finding your voice?
At this point, you might be thinking… as far as finding your “voice” is concerned, how does speaking to a professional therapist really differ from talking through your fears and concerns with someone else, such as a relative or close friend?
Here are some of the ways in which therapy really could help you find your authentic voice:
- You will be given space to think and feel. While support from friends and family members really can be crucial, not all of us feel able to communicate in an entirely “unfiltered” way to people who are so close to us; we may fear the consequences or implications of saying certain things. The situation with a trained therapist is different. They can help you open up about the aspects of your life that you’re truly concerned about, rather than merely those you are ostensibly concerned about.
- You don’t need to worry about how your therapist will respond. Remember: whatever you say to your therapist, they aren’t there to judge you or to tell you off. This may feel like quite the revelation to you, if you have spent your life being something of a “people pleaser”, editing your thoughts because you fear voicing what you really think will result in you being admonished, shunned, or rejected. By contrast, you don’t need to “look after” your therapist, or fear their reaction; you really can convey your thoughts and feelings to them, unadulterated.
- You will be able to more easily figure out what is holding you back. If you feel that you presently lack your own voice, you might feel unable to explore the reasons for this in your usual everyday life. After all, we all have mundane responsibilities in our personal and work lives, and you might struggle to find the time, energy, and space to dig very deeply into your fears and concerns. Therapy sessions, on the other hand, can provide you with that opportunity. A therapist can help you identify the factors – both internal and external – that are currently preventing you with living as your best self. And of course, they can help you figure out how to work through and overcome those inhibiting factors, on the way to finding your authentic voice.
- You can explore new ways of communicating. Therapy sessions can also give you the chance to experiment with ways of thinking, feeling, and being that may have so far gone unexplored – or underexplored – in your life. In your usual day-to-day life, you might fear the impact that your authentic communication would have on the people closest to you. After all, those people might have long been accustomed to seeing you a certain way… a way that does not match who you really are. A therapist can therefore help you to work through these feelings, and to consider how you can most effectively manage those relationships in the process of expressing yourself more authentically.
Are you ready to discover what therapy could mean for you?
Hopefully, all the above will have helped you realise that therapy really could be invaluable for you and your efforts to find a voice of your own – even if “finding your voice” was not the very first priority you might have had when first considering therapy.
And with there being all manner of available talking therapy rooms to rent in London and other parts of the UK for mental health professionals, there are many different ways in which therapists and clients can engage with each other in today’s world.
There really is, then, a wide range of pathways through which someone can reap the benefits of therapy for finding their own voice, and living more authentically.