What are you avoiding when you ruminate?

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umination and over-thinking can be horrible symptoms. Thinking is internal, inside your head, and this makes it very difficult to find respite when it feels out of control. I have met many clients who have felt tortured by their continual thoughts, it can be exhausting to feel like you can not switch off.

When you are lost in your thinking, you are necessarily disconnected from other aspects of your experience. In particular, it is unlikely you are directly experiencing your body and what you can feel, it is simply crowded out.

If you are suffering from rumination, a question that is useful to ask, but perhaps surprising is 'what are you avoiding?'  It's sometimes as if the mind is creating A LOT of noise, blanking something else out. Finding out what is being avoided can be key to sorting out and addressing what it is that is sustaining your ruminations.

A useful way of doing this is to flex the rest of your sensing muscles, focusing in on what you can feel, see, hear, smell and taste. As you repeatedly come back to your senses, you balance out the dominance of your mental experience, and you gather new information about what else is happening in your mind-body system. This different experiencing may well reveal things you need to explore and work with, and if so, therapy can be a useful support for this.

So often we focus on a symptom like rumination and seek to overcome it directly, without establishing what function it serves. Looking at our wider experience is often a more effective and enduring approach.

Go to the profile of Fe Robinson, Psychotherapist

Fe Robinson, Psychotherapist

I am here to help you thrive, whatever life brings. I offer Psychotherapy, EMDR therapy and Couples Counselling to clients based in Durham. I am UKCP Accredited, BACP Registered, and an EMDR Europe Practitioner, and offer Clinical Supervision to counsellors and psychotherapists locally. I have worked in private practice, the NHS, and in charitable organisations, with a wide range of clients and conditions.

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