No. It's not that obvious. But people in counseling, either as individuals, as part of a couple, as part of a family or a group, or especially as a therapists, have experienced some kind of trauma in childhood. It's just the way of the world. So don't feel as though we can see it on you, or read your mind. Your symptoms are very old remnants of a history laden with one or another kind of troubling circumstances and events.
As adults, we may have forgotten about our initial responses to these traumatic conditions, since they might have begun in our very early years of life. Some of us may have even forgotten about the coping mechanisms we eventually settled on to help us through those trying years, effectively erasing huge chunks of preteen memory. But most of can recall the at least some of the old strategies we employed to protect ourselves as children from whatever onslaught befell us back then: withdrawal, compulsions, ferocity, overcompensation, hyper-rationality, passivity, dissociation, or self-harm. When we carry these defenses with us past the point of needing them--that is, into our independent adult lives--they become like the armor on a Medieval knight. It was very useful back then, even essential. Now, it is nothing but a hindrance.
Becoming aware of our expired defense mechanisms is a good first step in feeling better. And simply talking about our childhood traumas brings out these important talking points. Whether folks come to group to work on social anxiety, depression, panic, bipolar moods, or other symptoms, our conversations can deconstruct what seems to be going on and help each of us to consider, in a nonthreatening environment, the underlying causes. Those causes might be over-self-protection from imagined or inconsequential judgments of others), preemptive negative self-talk, a desperate need to let go of resentment and forgive self or others. The magic of doing this work in a group is that we can first see what's underneath as we examine the stories and lives of our fellow travelers. Then, when we are able, we can see the similarities to our own predicaments. Gradually, we feel comfortable being uncomfortable. That is, we start to let go of our old, expired, counterproductive ways and experiment with new ways of being.
It's not an easy journey, but it's so worthwhile. Even in the midst of the suffering we encounter on this rough, hard truth-strewn road, we know that just around the bend, there's bound to be some of the freedom we've held ourselves back from. And striving for it together, each for each other, is the reason we carry on. We're all grown up now. And we can do this.