Intro to Psychotherapy

One of my goals is to demystify psychotherapy. Here is a brief intro with a personal story to illustrate.

At a Natural Level: Going from X —>V

What is psychotherapy all about? Well, psychotherapy is about:

  • Resolving (often hidden) inner obstacles to living life well.
  • Changing stumbling blocks to stepping stones.
  • Turning inner conflict into inner strength

At times we come across people or situations that trigger us into ways of reacting/coping that are immature, unhealthy, or even sinful.

I can remember that sitting at meetings with a boss or authority figure present used to make me freeze and not want to share anything at all. Instead of living that situation well, it was chronically a situation that would get me stuck. I bounced back and forth between anxiety/frustration with myself, and just trying to forget about and push through it, only to end up binge-watching Netflix shortly after the meeting.

We all have certain triggering situations (such as the performance scenario with my boss) that can activate knee-jerk reactions marked by dis-integration (X)- experienced as anxiety, stuckness, and avoidance.

Psychotherapy helps you turn X -> V.

At a purely natural level, psychotherapy helps you replace anxiety, stuckness, and avoidance, with facing, feeling, and dealing. The disintegration is replaced with integration.

A key principle of psychotherapy is that, whenever something bad happens in life, a part of us will stay stuck with some unresolved feeling (⎕) or unmet need until it's resolved. I've also noticed in my years of helping, that we tend to defend against that stuck brain-body state (usually from childhood) through some false control of the mind (O) or some unhealthy attachment of the will () to some lesser created good or escape activity.

A stuck brain-body state set up earlier in life disrupts the coordinated action of mind (O), body (⎕), and will () in response to specific triggering situations.

In my case, my reaction to performance pressure was marked by feeling 'less than' (⎕), which I defended against with anxious ruminating (O) during the meetings, and with binge watching shows afterward ().

Therapy is a simple process where we surface those problematic, knee-jerk reactions, resolve them, and anchor-in (re-program, wire-in, recondition) a more insightful, more adaptive response that supports emotional freedom of heart, as well as the building up of natural virtue in the previously problematic area.

In my case, with some good help from a therapist, I finally faced my feeling, felt it, figured out where it came from, and resolved it through some guided imagery in just a matter of minutes. (The X turned into a ✛ ). I experienced a newfound infusion of confidence (⎕) into my sharing at meetings, expanded my skills into presenting (), and even found the courage to do some cold calls to market my services outside of the agency. I was more free to grow in virtues of prudence, courage, moderation, and justice as a worker and co-worker - in knowing (O) what to share, how much to share and when, to be more helpful to the group as a whole.

I could also grow in the virtues of faith, hope, and love as I took my experience to a deeper level, seeing it as God’s guidance in my growth as a person and as a psychotherapist.

Go beyond turning X -> V. Go deeper by turning V -> ⚓︎, to be truly anchored in Christ.

Psychotherapy is about helping you make a shift in your subconscious response to certain life scenarios. The work can range from being brief - one or two sessions focused on a very specific issue - to being long term - involving ongoing, weekly sessions to make more complex shifts in your sense of self. Most people seek out therapy to help with certain crises, or after getting fed up with going through the same emotion/relationship cycles over and over again. And, in most cases, these types of issues can be resolved within a short time, about 4 to 6 sessions.

It is a privilege to be in a position to offer support to fellow Catholics looking for such guidance. Pray for me and for all Catholic therapists that we can be faithful and effective in our work. St. Dymphna, pray for us!

Image link to bio for Marcel Lanahan, LMHC

Dr. Marcel Lanahan

Founder, Lead Clinician

Marcel is a Catholic therapist, husband, and father of five. He is dedicated to supporting fellow Catholics with guidance on their healing journeys.

Sign up for a free consultation today!

I am currently offering a free 30 minute call by phone or secure video conference.