What do you like most about working in the psychotherapy field?
One of the things I enjoy most about working in the field of psychotherapy is the therapeutic relationship and with it the closeness to other human beings. In the beginning, most of the individuals we work with show a mechanical view of what is wrong with them in order to obtain recovery – i.e. what do I need to fix in order to function properly again. They might dislike their own behaviours that continuingly harm, emotionally or physically, themselves or their loved ones. They are often in a state of hopelessness and powerlessness over the force of destruction, despite the rational mind. It is very rewarding to help individuals along this journey to recovery and supporting them in the discovery to find what are the underlying issues causing their issues.
Can you give an example of how this works in practice?
I recently treated someone seeking support. The individual was functioning in a demanding network of business life, exposed to daily social contact/public speaking and felt under incredible pressure to remain strong. She felt she was in control most of the time, but she was also taking prescribed medication to manage her anxiety and insecurity, particularly in front of others. At a closer look, the social anxiety was based on a deep-rooted feeling of not belonging, perceived as being different to the rest. This was due to changes/developments in the family hierarchy and life circumstances. She felt great pressure to fulfil her family’s duties, push for success. An inner voice was present creating this pressure and she was exhausted, physically and emotionally, which in turn created further isolation and deeper dependency on drugs. It is only through the psychotherapy that you are able to listen to that inner voice and discover the true root cause of your destructive behaviour.
What is meant by the term “rhythm” in a psychological sense of the word?
We are more than what meets the eye at first glance. We are an orchestrated composition of different experiences that we have lived through during the journey of becoming ourselves. For example, one might have internalised the soothing voice of a specific person who calmed us down in times of disappear, when we fell on our knees as children. This voice will then represent itself later in our lives as a comforting support to ensure we maintain a good life balance, eat right, have enough sleep and rest. Of course, the “voice” of other care takers can potentially negatively manifest itself, for example if you are pressured for good grades, success in sports etc. Like this, many states are born and support us in our daily life’s. None of them are bad by origin – they all fulfil a certain need, quest to support the greater picture, to survive, like each note in a piece of music comes together to create a musical composition. If some notes are out of rhythm or wrong, this affects the whole composition.
So, psychotherapy is about correcting the rhythm within ourselves?
Essentially, yes. The question what to do to support the person asking for support? As there is no quick fix, we invite those in need on a journey to explore their orchestrated composition as just discussed. I call it the inner landscape. It is a quest that one could also call psychotherapy. Not judging those inner forces at hand, knowing that they all want to support. They might have gotten out of rhythm and are in need of a conductor to guide them through this process. We reach out and provide helping hands. Our tool box is filled with evidence-based approaches and I would say the most powerful one is the ability of our particular team to be creative and noisy!
Dr. med. Konrad Hitz
Medical Director – The Kusnacht Practice