Finding Meaning Through Context and the Role of Therapy
Updated: Apr 28, 2020
We exist in context:We are influenced heavily by our biological makeup, caregivers, environment and feedback we receive. We are in constant, changing relationship with the world within us and around us. Locating ourselves in context contributes to feeling connected to something greater than ourselves while recognizing our unique role. The safety and permission of the therapeutic relationship can serve as a catalyst for this process, allowing for exponential increase in access to meaning.
Inside the body: We are the combination of familiar, sexual, egoic, emotional, mental and spiritual experiences all of which take place within the physical body. These experiences and our connections to them change and alchemize with one another. We grow more closely connected to some, while feeling distant from others. Some aspects of our internal experiences may feel overwhelmed by pain or blocked in their expression, others feel free and available for expression, and infinite other variables exist in between the two. Our relationships with our internal experiences is presented through our physical body to the external world.
Outside the body:The external world works in concert with the internal. It is often the external world which shows us that we are not happy with the way we are relating to ourselves. Dissatisfaction with jobs, lovers, possessions and family reveal existential struggles, leaving us wrestling with our role in the universe and desiring a connection to meaning. Locating ourselves in our external context is equally important to understanding the internal contexts, as it is our outlet for expression of what we experience internally.
The Relationship: The ebb and flow of life invites us to turn inward for a season, noticing what we are experiencing, then outward to express our experiences. This movement and dynamic relationship with our internal and external worlds is what provides the feeling of meaning. We know who we are when we know where we are and how we are relating.
The two versions of our realities, the internal and external, reflect one another and transform according to our focus. For example, someone who feels most comfortable expressing mental experiences may choose a job where that is their primary task- accounting, scientific research, or similarly mentally-focused positions. However, if they have a shift and decide to place their focus toward expressing emotionally, they may find themselves in different circles, connecting with new people in different realities new to them. We each have the power to change the relationships we build with our internal experiences as well as the way we experience life as a whole.
Therapy as a Tool: Locating ourselves in context can feel painful and impossible to do alone. Our system has intelligently shut down certain aspects of ourselves to protect us from the experienced danger. A therapeutic relationship can provide the safety necessary to allow internal experiences to be felt. Therapy also serves as a resource for permission and a practice grounds to express in new ways. Being supported in our felt experience and outward expression leads to greater connection to personal meaning.
You get to choose how you connect to meaning and the terms by which you relate in your life. If you would like the support of a therapeutic relationship to do that, contact Veronica Welch, LCSW, CDWF
To see other blogs where I talk about more reasons to do inner work, the therapeutic relationship, or doing what you want, click here.
Veronica is a therapist because she loves the healing journey and believes relationship is the most powerful catalyst along the way. She cares deeply about body awareness and the activation of personal empowerment through desire and creativity. She works with adolescents, adults, and couples who are ready for change. This may be readiness to begin a process of grieving, integrate past trauma, step into a new aspect of self, or various other elements of change.