In my Psychotherapy practice, control is a major theme of clients I have seen throughout my work

Control is an area of life which we seek to maintain but we are not always able to.

Now control is a part of our lives which is exerted by us and onto us in a number of ways including:

  • Our relationships (partner, children, friends)
  • society (bills, money [or lack], expectations)
  • Work (being made redundant, lack occupational development or promotion)
  • Health (of our own bodies and others we care about)
  • Death (bereavement of a loved one)
  • or even by ourselves (need that promotion or why can’t I stop feeling like this)


The feeling of control in our lives allows us to stay grounded, make the best decisions for ourselves and ultimately be happy in our lives.

So what happens if we lose control?

This is where many of us are in our lives. We may have one or two boxes checked but many more are left wanting. Or indeed something may come out of the blue that disrupts our internal state; leaving us feeling desolate, isolated and brings about tension and stress 

This state of being affects not just how we feel, but also the decisions we make in day to day life.

Ways of maintaining control

In order to claw back some grounding and deal with our lack of control we either choose the negative or positive.

The Negative:

This involves burying our heads in the sand, numbing ourselves from the pain. Many turn to addictive tendencies such as drugs, drinking, gambling, or exert control in a different way, such as bully or belittling people unrelated to our problems. Now if this sounds familiar don’t be upset. These ways of behaving are known as pacifying. We are numbing ourselves from the pain and feelings of tension, stress and anxiety associated with the diminished control. These behaviours stem from our past and are our unconscious way of dealing with the world.


The Positive:

The positive would attempt to tackle the problem in the best way we can while staying centred – asking for help in order to rectify the problem.

If only life were that simple. Sometimes the lack of control and the tension it brings can feel insurmountable, unspeakable or can’t be fixed (A death of a loved one for example).

How then do we tackle the unspeakable, heart-wrenching issues which are having such a huge impact on our lives?


How Psychotherapy Helps:

  • Uncovering and understanding pacifiers.

Psychotherapy aims to shine a light on the ways of pacifying stress known as our  ‘internal working models’. These are your conscious and unconscious thoughts and actions which, more often than not are lead to detrimental consequences to not only your life but also your loved ones. Pacifiers are usually detrimental behaviours such as addictions or over working and can further diminish control in your life.

  • Establishing boundaries.

The way we relate to others and in turn they relate to us, can seem ingrained into our conscious and, unconscious thoughts and behaviour. It becomes a part of our image and can make up our identity and seen as unmovable or unchangeable.

Many of us then go through life not questioning the boundaries exerted onto us by others and what impact they have on our lives.

Psychotherapy aims to look at the effect the established boundaries have on us so that they can be adapted to enhance your relationship and bring about more control to your life.

  • New ways of relating to the world.

We can not always maintain a controlled environment as life sometimes gets in the way. Psychotherapy aims to create inner strength while looking at the way we relate to the unpredictable, stressful life events. Psychotherapy can teach you to deal with these life events in a healthier way,  staying calm, controlled and centred so that you feel in control and able to deal with these events in the best way possible.

Control is an element of life which can come and go fleetingly. Psychotherapy aims to enlighten the way you live in the world whilst establishing an inner resilience that can be used to help you deal with the uncertainty of life. Helping to maintain Control no matter what life throws at you.

To learn more about psychotherapy and how it can help you please see my What is Psychotherapy Page

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