SOS mental health issues - psychotherapy

When professional help is needed

In partnership with Boryana Angelova

Mental health care has been underestimated and neglected for years - mostly because of the few answers it gave till less than a century ago. In recent years, more and more research has proven the link between mental and physical health. Being aware of our daily choices and knowing how to keep our psyche intact, no matter what happens in reality, is something no one teaches us in school.

In her psychotherapeutic practice, Boryana Angelova works with clients and in many cases seeks and uses resources to assist in strengthening self-identification. Her clients then begin to look at themselves in a new way, getting to a new level of self-knowledge. Below Boryana answers some of the most common questions about psychotherapy.

In your experience, what is the most common motivation for a person to turn to psychotherapy?
People who come for a consultation or to start therapy have usually reached a stage in their lives when they cannot solve the problems they have and they are willing to try to stop their suffering in another way. They have already tried different coping methods they know, such as avoiding the problem, denying, shifting responsibility, or excuses such as "there's just no solution." A big part of their motivation to start therapy and stay in it despite the difficult moments there will be is the desire to be able to understand themselves and the way they interact with the world around them. Another motivation is often the desire for inner change.

What kind of person visits a psychotherapy office? Do they have common features, what are the unifying factors?
One unifying factor is the feeling of inevitability. Something in their lives has happened and they have not been able to cope with it in any other way. There are also people who have already read and learned about the method and its benefits for improving mental health and dealing with stress in everyday life. What I find common to all is the desire to seek and ask questions. They need to find the truth beneath their actions and desires and try to integrate it in a more authentic way in their lives.

Many people turn to psychotherapy when they have quarreled with a loved one or want to find the right path in their lives. Is this the right attitude?
Any attitude that is in the direction of a more conscious life and is sincere, would motivate a person to enter the process of psychotherapy. Our loved ones are our world, on which we rely and among which we are most real. In order to be able to be authentically present in our lives and to be at peace with our choices (whether personal or professional), it is important to accept ourselves as we are. For this to happen, we must learn to accept our weaknesses and know how to develop our strengths. Psychotherapy helps to find the way to these stunted but real resources and to look the problem in the eyes, even if it means facing your fears and being (able to stand there) alone with them. Leaving a relationship that keeps you dependent on the other. To set boundaries that would not be comfortable or to swallow your pride. To learn to accept yourself with all your good and bad traits and emotions. To see that there is no way for everything to be okay at all times. For people seeking perfectionism, this is one of the most difficult lessons to accept - understand the beauty in imperfection, the power of letting go of control, and being vulnerable to the world around you.

Can we rely on psychotherapy as a means to solve all our problems?
Solving all our problems is not realistic. Life is a series of events and experiences. Certainly, psychotherapy helps a person to be much calmer with what is happening in their life, becoming more receptive. In the process of therapy, a person learns to listen, to separate other people's needs from their own, to accept difficult situations, and to respect one's emotions, giving them space to be present in our life. This whole process ultimately helps the client to build a solid internal motivation to deal with life's challenges - for their own well-being, and to be able to build full-fledged relationships with the people around them. What we can count on in therapy is that it helps us grow as we go through life.

If a person has consciously set themselves the goal of getting to know themselves- how would psychotherapy help them?
It helps by serving as a mirror that shows each part of them, as they are. The psychotherapist is there to support them on the path of getting to know themselves, and when it is most frightening and embarrassing to show them that this is also a part of life and there is nothing that cannot be accepted in the embrace of caring for the individual.

How exactly does psychotherapy work?
The relationship between therapist and client is one of a kind. It has no counterpart with the other relationships we build in our lives. It is through therapy and the trust that is built in the process of therapy that the client learns to hear and understand themselves more. The therapist is there to guide and illuminate the path the client is on, to support them, and to help them understand their conscious and unconscious motives, only to which they are ready to touch.

What has psychotherapy given you personally?
Depth of presence, the opportunity to connect more deeply with myself and my loved ones. Psychotherapy as a profession for me is an inspiration and hope that we can be more conscious and real in our daily lives. We can connect authentically without masks, without roles, without prejudices, or expectations, with trust in us as a society.

Boryana Angelova is a psychotherapist practicing in Sofia. She most commonly works with clients who have difficulties in their relationships, separation or loss of a loved one, confidence and self-esteem, problems in the workplace with colleagues and/or the boss, and anxiety caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Boryana can be contacted here by filling in the form on the webpage, by email at [email protected], or by phone at +359 887061199.