When I begin a counselling relationship with a client, more often than not we will endure a breakup outside the counselling room. This could be the client experiencing the end of a relationship with a friend, partner, family member or even a loved pet, but these heartbreak experiences all have the same theme; grief.
Heartbreak can feel like a rollercoaster of emotions. It gives you highs, lows, and everything in-between, and no matter how much you tell yourself to ‘just get over it’, it just doesn’t work. In my opinion, heartbreak should be treated as a bereavement, not a mere life event.
Which refers us to the question ‘why is heartbreak so hard to get over?’ Does it have the ability to cause psychosomatic symptoms such as fatigue and physical pain or are you imaging it? In an attempt to answer these questions, let's look at the psychology of heartbreak and how counselling assists this process.
For your brain, coming through heartbreak is like coming off drugs. When investigating how ‘love’ impacts the body and mind, researchers concluded that although love is an emotion, it is also a motivational tool which can control your regulation of emotions. Heartbreak can also make how you view the world as distorted. This can be represented by an ideological pair of ‘glasses’. When looking through these 'heartbreak glasses', it portrays how you’re viewing the world and experiences, however, what you feel you are seeing, may not be what is really there. Heartbreak can activate a number of cognitive distortions such as black and white thinking. Black and white thinking is when we only see things in extremes. An example of this can be drawn from the thought ‘I will never be happy again’ or 'I will never recover from this' , does this sound familiar? Heartbreak has the ability to distort our cognitive functioning which has a direct impact on our mood, which in turn can cause psychosomatic symptoms of fatigue, headaches or personality changes.
CBT allows us to enter the therapy session with these distorted thoughts, which we see through our ‘heartbreak glasses’, and allows us collaboratively to investigate the validity of each thought, in turn, altering our brain chemistry back to a more positive state. Thinking positively is a lovely idea, however, is extremely difficult to accomplish on your own. By seeking out counselling, it gives you, the client, an opportunity to discuss negative feelings, to be empathically listened to, with the promise of a solution focused outcome.
For more information on how CBT can assist you through your heartbreak, please request a callback today at www.jessicaleighcbt.com