Female identity has been under fire for quite some time now. With ever changing roles, the onslaught of social media and the obliteration of the ‘having it all’ myth, women can benefit from depth psychotherapy now more than ever.

Here are just a few of the specific challenges that women face in today’s world and how psychotherapy can help:

The ever-changing role of motherhood

Women are having babies later, some are using processes such as IVF and some are dealing with miscarriage or termination. Other women can’t have children and then some don’t want them at all. Psychotherapy helps women to understand the impact of these experiences on them personally, in a safe and non-judgemental setting.

This is a much-needed space in a world which does not slow down to consider the bigger picture of grief, loss and personal choice that may be specific to these clients.

The darker side of social media

The relentless representation of perfect female images on social networking sites such as Instagram has been cited in recent mental health research as contributing directly to poor body image amongst women.

However, we can’t blame Instagram alone. From a young age, women are bombarded with messages from numerous sources about what the perfect body looks like, and how happiness is guaranteed when one reaches this elusive destination.

While hating one’s body seems to have become almost normal amongst women, depth psychotherapy sets out to explore how someone came to feel this way about their body. This growth in self-awareness is one of the hallmarks of depth psychotherapy, as well as one its most empowering aspects.

The pressure of perfection

These ongoing unrealistic expectations of women have resulted in a pursuit of perfection, which manifests in the therapy room as conditions like anxiety, depression, impostor syndrome and burn out.

Gently but firmly, depth psychotherapy dismantles and deactivates these – pointing out where they originated and what may be sustaining them in a client’s life. The psychotherapeutic idea of being ‘good enough’ may be introduced to a client, in order to reduce their burden of overwhelm.

How depth psychotherapy can help

While women are often pathologised for having the feelings I have mentioned above, psychotherapy attempts a more holistic view. It considers the female client within the context of her relationships and acknowledges the existing, ongoing societal challenges that she faces.

The psychotherapeutic relationship provides a unique place of support and acknowledgement, allowing a re-discovery of strengths, insight and coping capacities such clients may have forgotten they have.

In this brilliant but fast and constantly evolving world that we currently live in, psychotherapy is needed by women now more than ever before to help them navigate the challenges that come with living today.

Karen Holmes is a psychotherapist with over 12 years’ experience working with clients with a variety of presenting issues. Her main focus the past couple of years has been with female clients and couples. She works from her office in Robina on the Gold Coast and also offers online counselling.

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