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Shadows, Masks, and Light

Therapy and Authenticity

· Adults,Therapy,Authenticity,Shadow,Masks

What happens we are aren't our authentic selves?

I've been in practice as a counselor for some time, and working in the mental health field for even longer. What I've learned is that there is no "one" cause of human suffering and no "one" solution. This insight comes from working with many clients over years of experience. One common aspect of human suffering that has emerged from all this counseling work is that people experience suffering when there is a difference between what they are driven to be and the mask they show the world.

An aspect of this that comes from developmental psychology is social comparison theory. When we are children, and into adolescence, we compare ourselves to others and make judgments about what we should be doing, what goals we should have, and where we should be in life. I've witnessed this phenomenon in adults as well, and is often the source of depression and anxiety in day-to-day living. The messages we tell ourselves are powerful, and can have real affects on our mental health.

Another aspect of inauthenticity is the mask we put forth into the world about how we want others to see us. While this is not a new idea, I think it is worth bringing up from time to time to remind ourselves that we all have shadows that we don't want others to see. The shadow can become out of control if we don't look at the shadow for what it is and call it out. This is what therapy does, it allows us to look at the parts of ourselves behind the mask.

Deciding to come to therapy can be daunting, and scary. This blog is intended to make therapy less scary for future clients. My hope is to write monthly in the blog, more if I'm struck with inspiration, and doing my own work while allowing others to see it evolve.

~Dr. Nick

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