Even if you are familiar with different types of therapy, you are probably wondering, what is Coherence Therapy? Most therapies use interventions that try to get rid of an unwanted symptom. They might use relaxation exercises, visualizations, cognitive reframing, behavioral changes, or many other techniques to try to abate your unwanted symptom. And they might even work, for a while anyway.
Coherence Therapy uses a different approach. It starts by discovering what makes the symptom coherent. In other works, how does the symptom make sense in the context of your life? The reason other approaches don’t tend to work in the long run is because the symptom still makes sense to some part of you. That’s because it was likely formed from experiences you had in the past and was the best way for you to cope at the time.
That’s why there is no pathologizing in Coherence Therapy. Every symptom that seems crazy making actually makes sense to some part of you. I know that might sound ludicrous since you’ve been working so hard to get the symptom to stop. Obviously you don’t want it! Yet as uncomfortable as the symptom is, and as much as you want it to go away, until the purpose, or “emotional truth” of it is brought to your full awareness, the symptom will likely hang on.
Here is an example:
A woman has been struggling with anxiety for years and can’t understand what it’s about. Through the discovery phase of Coherence Therapy, she experiences that if she didn’t have the anxiety, she’d be more assertive, and possibly angry. That is so threatening to her that she puts a cap on it and becomes anxious instead, not being able to defend her personal boundaries in life. So even though her anxiety is uncomfortable, it’s better than asserting herself and facing the consequences of that.
This awareness alone might be enough to dispel the symptom. She might feel that being anxious is not worth the cost, and becomes more assertive in a way that works for her. Or we might need to take additional steps in Coherence Therapy to help the anxiety release.
To read more about Coherence Therapy, you can go to my website, or visit www.coherencetherapy.org.
Until next time…….