Maggie Gyllenhaal says therapy has helped her understand herself better.

The 'Honourable Woman' star, who has daughters Ramona, seven, and Gloria, two, with husband Peter Sarsgaard, admits she has ''a raging temper,'' but has become ''much more vulnerable'' since becoming a mother.

The 36-year-old actress told the UK's The Guardian newspaper: ''Therapy was incredibly enlightening. I don't think it's only necessary if you're unwell - it's a useful tool for me to understand my own mind and how it works.''

The brunette beauty insists she isn't perfect and is scared of ''interacting with other people.''

She said: ''I have a raging temper. I'll shout and scream, then it passes like a wicked storm.

''I'm claustrophobic. It's taken me years to be OK on the subway, but in taking my daughter to school I've conquered it. Don't even talk to me about elevators.''

But Maggie says motherhood has made her a lot less judgemental.

She said: ''Motherhood brings you to your knees in a way that doesn't leave room for you to judge others. It makes you see that there's no ideal - a constant struggle, constantly compromising, but ultimate love.''

She added: ''I used to be so tough. I've become much more vulnerable as I've gotten older. We all soften with age. I feel a lot more sensitive and less strident in the world than when I was in my 20s. I had more fight then, but I prefer the way I am now.''

The 'Mona Lisa Smile' actress also claims she only found out her birth name last year.

She explained: ''I needed my birth certificate, and when my dad found it, it said that my name was Margolit. It was a bit of a shock. I'd always thought my full name was Margaret - never heard of Margolit. Neither of my parents can remember how it got on the birth certificate.''