The Expression Expectation: ‘Show Your Feelings!’
Those contemplating psychotherapy start with the automatic idea that they should be working towards greater expression of what they think and feel. Whilst this might be right for some people, this approach isn’t right for everyone; especially when it is a demand to show your feelings.
Many people go through life feeling like they cannot properly express what they think or feel. They find that they get frustrated with having to hold the things that they think and feel inside. This is especially so when they see that other people seem to have this freedom. They long for the same freedom.
However there is a difference between the freedom to express yourself and an expectation to express yourself; it is important difference. An expectation to express yourself can be just another burden.
Clearly, there are times when expression of your thoughts and feelings without regard for the circumstances or the wishes of others creates more problems than it solves. Further, some people can be so unfamiliar with what they think and feel that an expectation to express themselves is actually quite frightening and counter-productive. Other people have a tendency towards a more introspective temperament and don’t enjoy full-hearted expression and would rather keep more to themselves. Lastly, there are also some people who feel that they can’t stop expressing themselves and would like to remain more contained and contemplative. All of these individual positions are worthy of respect.
Choosing your goals
If you choose to undertake psychotherapy, you will be the one that chooses what your goals are, and this may include – amongst other things – goals that you form around when to express, what to express and how much to express.
– Tim Hill
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