In late nineteenth century Austria, a young woman was having a very hard time. She was experiencing several painful emotional and physical conditions, including visual disturbances, headaches, mood swings, partial paralyses, and anxiety. These problems had been plaguing her for years and had made her life extremely difficult. She eventually found a doctor who was able to help her, though he did so in a very unusual way for that time period: he talked to her.
Her name was Bertha Pappenheim, and she called the help she received “the talking cure.” She’d had a difficult childhood; her sister died of tuberculosis when Bertha was eight, the family experienced poverty and deprivation, and historians believe that Bertha likely had epilepsy, which may have been responsible for many of her symptoms. The first several years of her treatment were rough, and she found herself in and out of hospitals and sanatoriums. A few years later, her condition improved, and she went on to become a writer, social worker, and strong advocate for the rights of women and children. While she still experienced occasional relapses of her condition, she was nonetheless able to live a meaningful and productive life.
Her doctor’s name was Josef Breuer. His student, Sigmund Freud, adopted Bertha’s words to describe the psychoanalytic techniques used to help many others. Early psychoanalysts believed that that people, when given space to explore their current problems and their relationship with previous life events, would be able to resolve, or at least learn to cope with, emotional disturbances. While they may have gotten a lot of things wrong and said some pretty weird stuff, they were absolutely right about the talking cure. Since that time, a mountain of evidence supporting talk therapy has accumulated and many peoples’ lives have been improved through psychotherapy.
These conversations can be difficult.
When discussing my work as a therapist, I often say that therapy is the art of having awkward conversations, because most of the things that tend to come up during therapy sessions aren’t subjects that many people want to discuss in other settings. Depression. Stressful life events. Grief. Anxiety. Substance abuse. Emotional problems. Relationship difficulties. Self-medication. Trauma. None of these are things that are often discussed around the dinner table or at social gatherings, yet they have a huge impact upon the lives of those who experience them.
Many people who are experiencing these issues have a hard time seeking support, which is totally understandable. Opening up to others about sensitive or painful experiences is hard! Not only are they difficult to bring up in the first place, stigma against people who have mental health concerns is very real. No one wants to feel judged or shamed by people they care about, and many people don’t want to feel like they are burdening others with their problems. Even those with good support systems can still experience difficulties when friends or loved ones don’t have the knowledge or training to help them address what’s bothering them. It’s easy to see why having mental health concerns can be very isolating.
It doesn’t have to be that way, though.
This is where I come in.
I enjoy helping people deal with the life weirdness that comes with mental health concerns. My goal as a therapist is to provide my clients with a safe place to discuss whatever is on their minds, and to help them with whatever issues they are currently facing. No problem is too big or too small, and it is often through working through the small problems that we learn how to handle the big ones.
What would you like your life to look like a year from now?
If you would like to book an initial session with me, please call me at 336-276-9470 or email me at Lauren@LaurenAdamsLCSW.com. I will send you a link to my confidential client portal, where you will be able to enter your information and complete the intake paperwork. You’ll also receive copies of my practice policies.