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MIRROR WATER: Why might a person might seek out therapy?

SELF SPACE: Holding on to the idea that we need a reason to start therapy can actually hold us back from beneficial support.

There’s a misconception when it comes to therapy that you seek out support when you are at your lowest, you’ve hit the bottom and don’t know how to get back. In fact therapy is an incredible tool to better understand ourselves and our needs. It’s useful if we have an openness to self inquiry, get curious enough to explore yourself in a safe space. We don't need to have any specific symptoms or diagnosis or have a problem that needs solving. We can simply want to understand ourselves better, navigate reaching our potential or be wanting to explore the corners of our lives.

Other reasons we might begin therapy can include but not be limited to: feeling overwhelmed, stressed, envious, lonely, disengaged; experiencing grief, trauma, low moods, a loss of joy or hope, a lack of direction; using alcohol or substances in a way that does not feel good. You might also begin therapy through the desire to understand your past, or wanting to make an ok relationship great, or to process a significant life event. If you’re experiencing any of these things we’d suggest booking in for a chat and seeing where you could benefit from support.

MIRROR WATER: Do you have any tips or gages for people to check in with themselves regarding their mental wellbeing?

SELF SPACE: Busyness can be a big distraction when it comes to avoiding what is causing us distress. We have a tendency to plough through things so that we don’t feel what might be emotionally difficult for us, but when we stop and allow ourselves to really check in with what’s going on with us we will almost always have a very good idea of what needs tending to.

Having someone to support us to look at these aspects of ourselves and our lives in a productive, supportive and honest way can be hugely beneficial. To begin the process of breaking things down—having an hour each week to stop and enquire about ourselves—supports us not just in terms of crisis but in fact everyday, as we face the often grinding components of being human.

Taking a proactive approach to supporting our emotional selves (something Self Space wholeheartedly champion daily with ‘everyday mental maintenance’) gives us a chance to move beyond mental health awareness and into a space of mental wellness and understanding all year round.

MIRROR WATER: Based on the fact that almost everyone Googles their symptoms, is it ever okay to self-diagnose in the first instance?

SELF SPACE: Googling often gives us validation for our feelings. Sometimes we need a label to anchor to when we are overwhelmed by what we are feeling. But looking at symptoms and defining solutions can be very limiting. If we think of our life experiences as a process, a moving set of linked things which is fluid and is connected to the past and the present, to our thoughts and feelings, our bodies and minds, it isn’t often just one thing or another. Labelling emotions and experiences might in fact disable you from looking further into and at yourself, giving you immediate relief but not long term change and understanding. We would advise avoiding googling—but instead, engage in talk with friends, loved ones and therapists about how you're feeling and what’s happening for you.

MIRROR WATER: Can or should someone go to therapy simply because they want to learn more about themselves?

SELF SPACE: Yes, 100 percent yes!

Stay tuned for our upcoming series with Self Space which will offer concise information about all of the different types of therapy with the aim of helping you to make informed decisions.

MIRROR WATER: Can you tell us more about the Venus retrograde that’s just ended? 

Alice Bell: Venus has been retrograde since July 22nd. It happens for 40 days, and it only occurs every year and a half, so it's more major when it happens. While Mercury is all about communication, Venus is all about relationships, personal style, creativity, and finances, so those areas of your life are up for inspection during a Venus retrograde. This is why you may have heard of huge celebrity breakups happening. It meant people going through relationship changes, but it doesn't necessarily have to be bad.

Lately, researching your full chart – rather than just sun – has become more popular.
Is it possible to relate more to your moon or rising signs? 

Alice Bell: The qualities associated with rising and moon signs tend to come a little bit more easily to you – moon signs embody early childhood habits, which is how you emotionally react to things without thinking, whereas the sun is the identity you're growing into over the course of your lifetime. That can sometimes feel uncomfortable because it's challenging to learn and grow and improve and work towards developing those sun sign traits more, which is why when you're younger, you might not feel as much like your sun sign. 

MIRROR WATER: What advice would you give to someone who’s learning about astrology for the first time? Is Co-Star okay to look into? Or what about magazine-style horoscopes? 

Alice Bell: I'm not a fan of Co-Star, but the app Chani is great for seeing your circular chart pulled up – like what planets are in what houses. I also love and – those are my favourites for entering in your birth information. Then also my book, because the first section of it is like, “This is what your birth chart is, these are the signs, these are the planets.”

MIRROR WATER: What do you think are any misconceptions about astrology or horoscopes? 

Alice Bell: I would say a big one is people saying: “Oh, my horoscope doesn't make sense, so astrology is not accurate.” Everyone that has the same sign is not gonna have the same week, it’s more complex than that. First off, you should be reading horoscopes for your rising sign, not your sun sign, because the way they're written is, “I'm bringing the sign I'm talking about to the first house,” so it's the rising of the chart. Then I'm seeing where the planets are in the sky this week, and if you look at the rising, that's the same as if you were to go to an astrologer. I would tell you: “These are the transits happening, and this is what to watch out for moving forward.”

Follow Alice Bell here, and shop her book Trust Your Timing here.
Meanwhile, find out what’s going on astrologically this week here.