An Introduction to Seen Therapy: Blogs At The Center for Women’s Intimacy
Updated: Nov 3, 2021
To The Woman Reading This, Know That You Are Capable and Deserve To Be Seen.
Welcome to Seen Therapy, a place for women to see themselves in a new way. We are a therapy practice ushering in clarity, visibility and empowerment for all women. Our team of female clinicians are dedicated to a woman’s experience and believe every woman’s story is unique and deserves the opportunity to be heard, validated, and seen.
What does it mean to be “seen”?
Being seen can be experienced in a variety of ways. On its most basic level, it can mean feeling more than just being acknowledged by someone. It is about feeling known and understood, which contributes to feeling valued and worthy. It can also mean accepting yourself for everything you are and all the unique experiences that have contributed to making you, you. When we are seen, we are able to be unapologetically ourselves. When we allow ourselves to be seen, we can uncover and share our most true qualities, and therefore the truest version of ourselves.
Over the years I’ve learned that what stops people from having intimacy is not differences in communication styles but more so experiences in their lives where they were not seen. Not being seen for who they truly are. In fact, most relational trauma is about being unseen and that's what often brings people into therapy. Being relational means recognizing connection with others and sharing interconnectedness. Relational trauma is the response to a lack, disruption, or instability in that interconnectedness with others. It comes from not being seen. Although it is a popular belief that people are supposed to derive our worth from and by ourselves, the reality is, how we are seen by others impacts how we see ourselves. We develop our sense of self from being seen at a very early age from our earliest caregivers. And because we continue through life knowing that our self worth is impacted by being seen by our caregivers, we then expect this desire to be seen with others we later develop connections with. This is a normal and healthy need that we all have. It is valid to desire to be seen.
What happens when women are not seen?
Allowing yourself to be seen is one of the most courageous, while simultaneously intimidating things a woman can do. Women have unique qualities which provide the opportunity to form strong bonds with others but all of that becomes stunted if we don't have a safe place to be acknowledged. Living in a world without being recognized or acknowledged impacts the way we view ourselves and the relationships we coexist in.
For many of us, building healthy relational connections is challenging because we have been conditioned to cover or hide aspects of our personalities that may be viewed as less than ideal to those around us. Not feeling comfortable to express ourselves and our needs otherwise known as “masking” may also prevent us from forming connections as deeply with those around us because it does not allow ourselves to shed light on who we really are. At Seen, we look at and factor in a woman’s total experience in relationships. Common barriers women face when bringing visibility to themselves often stem from a fear of being seen. This fear may manifest in the ways we think about ourselves or question our actions within relationships. We may ask ourselves “If I am honest, and show my partner who I really am...will they abandon me?” or “What if I speak up for myself...will I be labeled aggressive...too much?”As women, many of us encounter challenges in everyday life that connect to not being seen, some of which include: trusting our own voice, being treated equally, facing imposter syndrome, advocating for ourselves, and putting ourselves first...the list goes on and on. Think about it like this: if you were taught to suppress your full range of emotions in the home you may not be willing to share your opinion so freely in other spaces later on in life. Or, maybe as a little girl you watched your mother fight to earn her place in the relationship or saw her constantly seeking to be understood and affirmed by others and so now you carry on the generational messaging of seeking approval as a woman. Learning how to find true intimacy with others after years of masking means giving ourselves a permission slip to rewrite our story and to consider what it might look like, feel like, to create a life based on who you were born to be rather than who you were told to be. The effects of not being seen don't form spontaneously. Typically we see the impact of this development from years of conditioning and messaging which are often related to our familial history, culture, and society. If you felt wounded early on in life, you may look for ways to cope in a world where navigating your every move requires hypervigilance and safety seeking behaviors. When we find ways to cope with the wounds we endure, sometimes we create defense mechanisms to protect ourselves. These defense mechanisms can end up holding us back in unhealthy ways and hold us from having the connections we really yearn for. Some of these unhealthy ways may manifest by way of extremes. Consider the person who talks out loud to be seen in the restaurant you are dining in or the person who dresses in a flashy way to be recognized. This all can be done in extremes but to be seen in a healthy way is invaluable and helps us to feel our own worth as well as connection to others. At Seen Therapy we work with women to uncover how to find ourselves and more clarity in our lives and relationships. Although it may feel daunting to take up space, we’ll be here to remind you that you can. I am excited and honored to begin this healing journey with you.
How can Seen Therapy help? If you are interested in learning more about Seen Therapy and how to deepen your connection to yourself and others contact us today for a free and confidential 15 minute consultation. Call: 1 800 607 7922 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
***Seen Therapy provides individual, group, and intensive therapy for women seeking healthier connections and healthier lifestyles. Specializing in therapy for Mental Health challenges, Trauma/PTSD, Women’s Sexual Health and Intimacy difficulties, Betrayal Trauma, and Sex and Love Addiction***