Staying the course in treatment for long term change

Staying the course in treatment for long term change

Many of my clients see me when they are in crisis, which is to be expected; but it is often challenging to effect meaningful and lasting change in the midst of a crisis.

In crises, our nervous system is activated; which means that our body’s emergency threat response system in the brain, our amygdala, is triggered.

When this happens, our body automatically goes into fight or flight mode in order to survive, and lots of physiological responses begin to kick in to prepare our bodies for action.
You may have experienced some of these physiological responses before, like increased heart rate, muscle tension, rapid breathing, etc.
When the amygdala is triggered, the thinking part of our brain, the prefrontal cortex goes offline. 

Often, the initial stages of treatment will consist of assessing the level of your symptoms and stabilization strategies, to ground the nervous system to cope with managing the symptoms of a Client’s condition.

It is not uncommon for Clients to report having good days and not-so-good days. So, when a Client starts to feel better, this is when the “real work of therapy” can begin.

When the thinking part of our brain comes back online, the prefrontal cortex is engaged again. Clients can then objectively identify triggers, problem solve, and develop alternate ways of thinking. We then practice implementing these strategies and re-evaluate the situation on an ongoing basis.

Practice builds permanence. As Clients practice these skills out of crises, they are building neuropathways in their brain so that they are better able to use these skills during the not-so-good days, which helps prevent a relapse in their mental health.

It is really important to keep working at it, keep attending treatment, and keep practicing using these skills, especially during the better days. These are the best times to troubleshoot the triggers and responses, in preparation for any potholes that may be lurking around the corner.

As you can see, the purpose of therapy extends beyond helping our clients to “feel better” in the short-term. At Prosper Health Collective we seek to identify the triggers to a decline in your mental health with you, and build strategies to prevent the likelihood of a relapse, so that you can enjoy meaningful and lasting mental well-being.
If this is what you are seeking, reach out to us at Prosper Health Collective, so we can help you take control of your journey.
Hazel Loo

Hazel is a senior registered psychologist at Prosper Health Collective. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology (Honours) and a Masters of Counselling, both from Murdoch University. Hazel works collaboratively with clients in helping them achieve their goals. Hazel works with adolescents and adults on a variety of presenting issues.