Usually clients come to counseling because of symptoms that they have never experienced before such as anxiety, panic attacks, unexplained anger, and feeling more depressed. They go on to say their lives are good and have coped well before but are now are confused at their unexpected inability to cope. As I hear their story, we are usually able to pinpoint current stressors such as a difficult teenager, financial pressures, or a strained relationship that explains some of the stress they are experiencing. As I continue to listen, we also uncover other major stressors such as growing up in an abusive family, experiencing loss at an early age, or other negative events for which they never fully processed or received help. That’s when we talk about the beach ball.
I’ve heard the beach ball talk from another therapist and have begun to share it with my clients. Imagine you have an inflatable beach ball. Now image that the air that began to fill the ball was your repressed emotional pain from dealing with abuse or neglect you received as a child. In the beginning, you were able to hold the ball beneath the water, easily put away so you didn’t have to deal with it. As time passes and you continue to fill the ball with more repressed pain, which was your way of coping, it took more work and energy to keep the ball underneath the water. Finally the beach ball became so big and your arms so exhausted that you couldn’t hold it down any longer. The ball started popping up out of nowhere as anger outbursts, panic attacks, bouts of depression, or just feeling stressed out.
Now, in my office, clients start to process their hurts and learn new ways to deal with emotional pain and stress. They begin to let the air out of their beach ball. If you need a safe place to explore your current stressors and past hurts, give me a call at 940-222-8703 ext. 702 or email me at [email protected]. I look forward to talking with you.