We walk around sharing varying forms of ourselves depending on the situation we are in, who we are with, and how we are feeling inside. Often we are not even conscious of the choice to adjust the level of disclosure and openness we exhibit; sometimes we are aware we are doing it but much of it happens by rote. We live in a culture where people are becoming increasingly inclined to let their guard down behind technological buffers such as computers and cell phones. It’s become a comfort zone, a preferred home position, and in some ways brings people closer but in other ways creates more distance.
Psychotherapy is an environment where power and healing can come from making a choice to let down your guard face-to-face with another human being. With the right therapist fit—just because a therapist is good doesn’t mean he/she is a good match for you—making an intentional decision to be open and vulnerable can create an opportunity for incredible growth and progress. The changes don’t happen overnight but a feeling of emotional safety is something that can be experienced early on in therapy; the feeling of being heard, respected and understood.
As people, there are often many layers to our experiences and whether it’s a relationship or sexual issue, family conflict, career trouble, trauma, or just plain feeling stuck, getting emotionally naked can be daunting. But it doesn’t have to happen all at once. It can happen slowly, with intention and focus. And as we let down our guard—which by the way, is there for good reason—we become receptive to new ways of thinking, feeling, and acting, which can translate into a totally different experience of living.