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Feeling anxious about getting back to 'normal life'

Moving out of Covid-19 lockdown opens up more freedom – but can also evoke anxiety as we move into uncertainty, overshadowed by Covid’s life-threatening risks.

Everyday situations that usually form the background of our lives – travelling to work, going to a shop, meeting a friend – are now front and centre and filled with uncertainty and unfamiliarity. The old rules of how to navigate these situations no longer apply. As a society, we’re not ‘going back to normal life’ but instead inventing new ways to be together.

Some of us are also experiencing anxiety and other emotions as we try to rebuild our lives after illness, the death of a loved one, or the loss of a job, a business, a relationship.

During lockdown, the relationships and connections that previously made our lives meaningful or even bearable have been disrupted.

Gestalt therapy and anxiety

Gestalt sees anxiety as ‘energy without support’. Anxiety is a natural state that occurs when we feel strong emotional energy but we lack the internal resources and environmental support to allow those emotions to flow and to move us towards satisfying our needs.

Laura Perls argued that we need ‘as much support as is necessary, and as little as possible’. This perspective flips the question from, ‘How do I make myself get going?’ to ‘What more support do I need to do this?’.

We’re likely to need more support in times of transition, when we need to develop new ways of interacting with the world around us.

Bowlby’s ‘attachment theory’ argues that humans have an innate biological need for love and support. We need this ‘secure base’ to be able to go out and explore the world – which is an inherently uncertain and risky endeavour - and allow the arising feelings and actions to flow.

How therapy can help with anxiety

Therapy provides a space for us to examine together how you experience anxiety in terms of sensations, feelings, impulses and thoughts – and especially what you notice how the anxiety spikes and changes here and now while you’re with me.

This deepening into your experience can allow other feelings, memories, images, movements and realisations to emerge.

We can also be curious together about echoes from earlier transitions in your life - when you started primary school or high school, your first job, or leaving home. How did you cope with those changes and the feelings they evoked in you? What else was going on for you and your family at the time?

This provides the ground for us to experiment with finding support so that you can mobilise and meet your needs – which may involve first of all experimenting with ways of recognising what you need.

We can try out different ways of increasing your internal self-support, and also explore how you can negotiate with others to get what you need in different life situations so that you can move forwards.

If this sounds interesting, please contact me at:

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