I will answer this question based on the hundreds of clients I have worked with over the last twelve years. I believe that by the time a client picks up the phone or sends me an email to schedule an appointment, he or she is ripe for change. Most people don’t come to counseling unless 1) they have struggled with an issue, 2) their struggles have not led to a solution, and 3) they are ready for change. I rarely sit down for a first session with a client to find out that they do not want to change. The way I work is designed to uncover the roots of what is preventing the change a client wants. As soon as we start to do this work together, it’s as if my client is throwing the proverbial rock into the proverbial pond – and the ripples start to spread. As a client begins to uncover the roots of an issue and to shift old beliefs and ways of being, everything in his or her life is impacted.
Sometimes clients come to find that they have built their life on top of old beliefs, old decisions, and old coping mechanisms that no longer serve them. Those old ways of being were designed for a time and place long ago and may have helped them then, but now they get in the way of positive change. Once my clients start to create new beliefs and new decisions in their lives, they are able to change the foundation of their lives. As the faulty foundation crumbles away, everything that was built on top of that faulty foundation tumbles, too. This is why it can seem like life is getting worse instead of better early on in therapy. But there is a silver lining to all of this destruction. As a client continues to work on positive change, they build a new foundation that is solid; one that reflects who they are now instead of who they used to be. This new foundation is created with consciousness, connection, and love. And the structures that are built on this new foundation are meant to be containers for the essence of their creator. Those structures will be the relationships, careers, homes, and passions that make up a rich life. When those structures are in harmony with who you are on a deep level, there is peace.
Returning to the examples I started with, let me expound on the examples:
* A client might come in to my office because she is experiencing depression and then her intimate relationship falls apart. Depression can be a symptom of a drain deep in someone’s life. As my client is able to find the root of her depression and starts to shift away from accepting drains her in her life, she will begin to hold herself differently in every aspect of her life. If her intimate relationship was one in which she was not receiving as much as she gave, she may shift that relationship to bring it into balance. While conscious and growth-oriented relationships can thrive in the face of that kind of shift, others might fall apart.
* A client might come in to do therapy for anxiety and then he will lose his job. Anxiety can be a symptom of a deep problem with no perceived solution. Because there is no solution the person’s energy “spins” in an attempt to find a way out. This spinning energy is what most of us experience as anxiety. As my client begins to find solutions to old problems, he is able to shift the spinning energy in his life. Maybe his anxiety has led him to live a ‘workaholic’ lifestyle and once he is finding balance in his life and is no longer working 80 hours per week, he loses his job. This could initially be perceived as a negative event, but this event presents my client with a new opportunity to find work that is aligned with who he is now and not who he used to be.
Are you or a loved one muddling through difficult issues in your life? If so, please call or send me an email to discuss how working together might help.