By Lauren Thomas, MA, LPC
Happy New Year! As you look ahead at 2023, is prioritizing your mental health one of your
goals? Is this the year you will finally address the “elephant in the room?” You know the one:
the thing that makes you anxious, keeps you stuck, or affects how you relate to others. It’s the
thing you feel might break you if you must carry it much longer.
The good news is you do not have to live this way! It takes courage to face what you have
avoided for so long, but it is worth it. Here’s why:
1. Denial makes the problem worse
Sometimes we think if we stuff the things that make us feel uncomfortable into a “box,” we
don’t have to deal with it. Out of sight, out of mind, right?! This may work for a time, but think
through how this usually plays out:
Let’s assume you have trauma in your past that you’ve never worked through or told anyone
about. You have moved on with your life, but you may notice you have a hard time trusting
people; you may even isolate yourself, in an effort to protect yourself from harm. You may
struggle with anxiety or depression, affecting your sleep or appetite.
Just because time has passed does not mean healing has occurred. Unresolved pain still impacts
us physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. It influences our relationships with God,
ourselves, and others.
2. Faulty thinking can be corrected
When you think of your “elephant,” you may think of all the “shoulds” and “if onlys.” For
example: “If only I made a different decision; I should have known better/told someone/fought
All these self-condemning thoughts lead to more shame and hiding. You do not have to punish
yourself! When you take the risk to talk to a trusted professional, trained in trauma therapy,
you can start to unpack those thoughts that have kept you stuck.
You will discover that much of what you have believed about your trauma is not true, meaning
that it was not your fault; you are not to blame for someone else’s behavior toward you. You
are not marked, worthless, or hopeless.
3. You are not alone
Another lie that we tend to believe when we bury our pain is that we are alone. We fear no one
will believe us, or that we will be judged or condemned, so we stay silent. Yet instead of
protecting ourselves from further hurt, we prevent ourselves from getting what we really need:
connection; and through connection, healing.
We all need support. We were not meant to go through life on our own. One of the best parts
of our job as therapists is to create a safe environment for you to share your experience
without fear of judgment.
During our work together, we will identify safe people in your life that can provide emotional support outside of sessions. If it’s been a while since you’ve made a friend, we can discuss markers of healthy relationships and how to cultivate them!
4. Learn new skills
In the context of a safe space with your counselor, you can address your pain. You can name old patterns and unhealthy ways of coping, such as overworking, overeating, substance use, or isolation.
Whether in-person or via telehealth, you will learn several new skills, tailored to your specific needs. We will set goals together during the first session that will help keep us on track. These skills may include mindfulness techniques, how to set healthy boundaries, and how to deal with uncomfortable emotions related to your story (i.e., grief, guilt, anxiety), to name a few.
You can thrive in 2023!
With the “elephant” OUT of the room, you now have space to dream of and create the life you have always wanted. Will life be perfect? Of course not. But you will have the tools you need to deal with hardship as it comes AND live life more fully and joyfully.
Contact us today
The therapists at Lime Tree Counseling want to see you heal and thrive! We care about our clients and are skilled in a number of specialties, including grief counseling, trauma therapy, marriage counseling, and addictions therapy. We provide in-person services to residents of Montgomery County, PA and surrounding areas. We also provide online counseling to residents of Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Colorado.
Make a lasting investment in yourself this new year! Schedule a free 15-minute phone consultation or an initial 50-minute session with a member of our team today! We are excited to work with you!