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.
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.
- Staying the course in treatment for long term change - September 29, 2021