Why Does Talking About it Help?

by Emily Emmerman, MSW, ASW

People come to therapy for a variety of reasons – to talk about and processes traumatic events, to better understand themselves and the way they process the world, to learn new skills to be more emotionally flexible, and even to just vent about life and get some clarification. No matter which way you spin it, you come to therapy to process, and processing means talking. But what happens when we feel like talking about the past might open up Pandoras Box?

All too often I have clients come to their session who say something along the lines of, “I want to feel better, but talking about what happened won’t fix it, so I don’t want to talk about it.”

And I really only have one question – How is that goin’ for ya? 

I don’t ask that to be mean or facetious – I am genuinely curious as to how that’s going. For some people, shoving it down and ignoring it might seem like it’s helpful – but for how long? Is that a permanent solution or a temporary fix? Don’t get me wrong – I love a good temporary fix – however, long term solutions involve us opening up, becoming raw, and processing the things that sit at the forefront of our brains knocking to come out and play. Long term solutions help us heal and grow so we don’t have to spend so much time and energy suppressing thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Long term solutions help us feel less exhausted in the long run.

Sometimes the process of therapy can seem a bit daunting but with the right therapist (one you have built a rapport with and deem worthy of your time/trust) they can help make the process a bit more manageable. I’m not going to lie to you and say that every therapeutic session is going to be comfortable – but from that discomfort we can start learning about the ways you cope, process, think, feel, believe, and how you react to life’s complexities. We can slowly take things out of the void you have created to protect yourself and explore them from a different perspective and in a calming environment. A therapist can normalize and validate your experiences and reassure you that your responses have made and will continue to make sense. A therapist can help shed some light on the scary things in the void and help you create “containers” and learn new coping skills to compartmentalize and process the different experiences. Essentially, talking about these things helps you take your power back.

A good therapist is going to meet you where you are at so when you come in and say “I don’t want to talk about it – but I want to feel better” they are going to come at that from a place of curiosity and gently help you explore the hesitation. The wounds you are protecting. You haven’t gotten this far in life because you are weak. You’ve gotten this far because you have strengths that help protect you from falling apart. And we are going to honor those parts of you – and it’s time for something new. It’s time to add to your growth and healing. Talking is not going to open up Pandoras Box but sometimes we’ve just got to “trust the process” and part of the process is talking – bring it in, let it out, and let it go. We’ve got you. 

Emily Emmerman is a registered associate clinical social worker in California.  She works under the mentorship and clinical supervision of Jessica Wilkerson, LMFT 104464.  Emily loves living a quiet and peaceful life in the country while helping people during the day learn to have healthy boundaries with others and within themselves.  She is highly experienced with helping people explore their inner worlds and guiding them to their own insight and decisions.  Emily takes pride in doing a good job at helping her clients go deep and explore their past so she can build them up and give them the tools to move forward in their present day and their future.  She uses many techniques to help, and one of those is EMDR which she does in-person and online!

​If you’d like to learn more about Emily or to schedule an appointment with her, please click the button below or call our office at (530) 809-1702.