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The importance of WHY in mental health:

The importance of WHY in mental health:

Years ago, I entered counseling to quench a thirst for a deeper understanding of myself. I was seeing a counselor and communicating regularly with them. I felt an unquenched urge to find out what happened to me during my childhood. I knew was that I had been taken away from my mother due to abuse and neglect, but that is about all I knew. My counselor challenged me by asking me, “what good will knowing do?” At first I felt the comment was rude, and insensitive. Which in turn only drove my thirst for this information even more.

Later, I found out the grotesque details of the abuse and pondered on my counselor’s question, “why did I need to know?” The answer for me was to understand my internal self and the way I responded to the world around me. I wanted to understand what happened so that I could map out how my internal self-interpreted those things through cognitive, emotional, and physical/behavioral responses. Why did I have the attachment style I had? Why did I respond to love the way I did? Why do I see the world around me through the lens that I do? So many questions felt unanswered.

I understand that her concern was about how it may impact me negatively, and to help me see that there is power in letting it go, as much as there is power in the “why.” Humans have a need to understand on a neuronal level and they will always seek connections to form new thoughts and memories, or to reprocess old ones. These memories were preverbal, and I needed to put words to the trauma. Through the power of finding my “why” I have been able to understand myself on a whole new level. Through developing a lens of understanding I have found why I interact with the world around me, and respond to it the way I do. Furthermore, I have been able to help my clients through their own understanding of “why.”

I feel by giving clients their space of nature, and nurture, responses a choice through awareness. This brings a deeper development of free will. The “why” gives us a path of understanding and elicits a choice in response. We no longer must operate from trauma, anxiety, or depression when we can give our brain a connection of awareness and understanding. This connection of why creates a new pathway of consciousness, which in turn gives us the choice to respond with appropriate behavior. If the “why” taps into the brain responsible for feeling, then knowing why would help pave a path of new feelings and develop a greater sense of wellbeing through this new understanding.

My takeaway is to always help my client uncover the “why” and to never let anyone take away their right to know and understand their own personal story. I feel speaking from the internal self, and not narrating through an external narration of what they are told they are, were, or should be is extremely important. We all have A basic human need to understand ourselves. The hope is to not find this through the manipulated lens of another person's account of what happened to them, or who they are, but through their own truth, through their own development of thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Our “why” is our lens of the world, and of ourselves. It's the internal paintbrush, in which we used to create our external world. Just for today, I will explore my internal world like a curious child and will continuously write my story with wonder.


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