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What is Therapy

At its most basic, therapy is a professional relationship that probes your life stories for insights to help you know yourself better. The work you do in therapy helps you develop strategies that can be used to bring your best self to your day-to-day life.

At Unbroken Abundance, we approach therapy kind of like building a house and the house is you:

Deep under the house is the footing. This is your temperament and neurotype. Knowing what these are can give you potent insight into how you’ve built your house and how you can strengthen and protect it.

The foundation of the house rests on the footing. It is everything you learned about the world – and your place in it – from your family of origin. 

On top of the foundation are four walls. We call the walls flexibility, curiosity, compassion, and connection. 

Finally, the house has a roof; the roof is your boundaries. 

We believe that at the very center of every house there is an abundant life force. This idea is not new; many cultures have explored it, using names like core self, god-seed, psyche, or soul. Therapy can help you redesign, rebuild, and/or redecorate your house, moving more of your living space into that sweet center. You can unearth your abundant life force, and tap into it.  

The roof, walls, foundation, and footing support and protect the interior of the house. Inside, we want to feel safe and happy. You might love what you’ve done with the place, thinking about the work you did to get it up to code. Maybe you see some spots that need a little updating and that inspires you to call a designer, or maybe you’re ok with some wear and tear and love a DIY challenge. But what if you feel boxed-in, like the walls or roof are too thick and you didn’t leave yourself enough room to grow? What if you feel like the whole thing is crumbling down around you? 

Therapy is building a solid, reliable House. This is the Safe House.

Therapy can help when you’ve discovered something you don’t like about your house: the roof is leaky, or so impenetrable that even air can’t get in; the walls are too thick or too thin, and no longer allow for a nice balanced flow with the outside world; there’s a crack in the foundation that you’re worried might undermine the whole building’s stability. Or maybe you were digging in the yard and discovered a bit of the footing that you never even knew was there, and now you’re curious, or scared, or confused. A talented therapist can help redefine and expand all facets of your house.

Just exploring and mapping the footing – learning what your temperament and neurotype are – can be a compelling therapy goal. These are data-points that can reorient your perspective going forward. 

In every person, there are parts of the foundation that are true, helpful, and solid; these are things like learning that gravity keeps you from flying off the face of the Earth, how to tie your shoes, or that your third grade teacher genuinely thought you were a neat kid. A house built primarily on truth, skills, and affirmations is grounded and stable. 

In every person, there are also at least some parts of the foundation that are untrue, and unhelpful; they undermine stability. You might have learned a version of reality that doesn’t quite mesh with what you now see in the world around you, causing you to question the very concept of “truth.” Or you might feel like there are skills “everyone knows” except you, which makes you feel ashamed, like you just don’t measure up. Or you might have been told that you’re dumb or worthless, so you feel like you don’t matter and you don’t deserve to be here. 

If your house’s foundation was built mostly on painful stories and corrosive influences – or even just one or two traumatic events – then you are likely to believe them, consciously or unconsciously, regardless of whether or not they make sense to you today. This can lead to so many difficult feelings and problematic behaviors, and working with a therapist to repair or rebuild the foundation can be absolutely life-changing. 

The walls are made of flexibility, curiosity, compassion, and connection. When your four walls are raised with an eye to keeping them even in height and thickness, your refuge is resilient. But if one of the walls is significantly taller than the others – if you’re so flexible that you find yourself completely bending over backwards, or you’re so connected that you have no time for yourself – or if a wall is thin and crumbling (or was never built in the first place) and you can’t access your compassion or your curiosity, then you are exposed and vulnerable. In therapy, you can figure out which issues stem from initial construction, and which are about maintenance. You can work on patching holes, choosing new paint, and hanging new art; you can even decide that a whole wall needs to come down so that you can rebuild it from the ground up. It is enlightening, scary, exhilarating, powerful work. 

If your roof isn’t reinforced so it leaks, or is so protective that it encases the entire house and won’t let anything in – if your boundaries are thin and people walk all over you, or so thick that you feel isolated and struggle to experience love or joy – then a therapist can help you reframe, repair, or rebuild it. Maybe some good thick tar will block a chronic leak, and adding a skylight will let in just the right amount of afternoon sunshine. Boundaries are often elusive, but good ones can improve almost every facet of our day-to-day life. 

The process of therapy is a “change conversation.” It's an invitation to dig deep and discover your inner workings. It provides an opportunity to explore anything in your life that you want to change; you can embrace feeling happiness and gratitude, build on your innate strengths, and reduce destructive habits like drinking and addiction, self-harm, and self-sabotage. 

The work of therapy is figuring out where the house is weak or crumbling, where it is strong, and what to do with that knowledge. Your therapist is your construction partner in helping you craft your personal Safe House.

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