The main reason, ultimately, for engaging in counselling is to make changes, either to your perspective or changes in patterns of behaviour and interactions with others. Insight into why you are having difficulties and the opportunity to talk things through can be a useful part of the process and can lead to ideas about what changes you would like to make, but there is no getting away from the fact that ultimately you are going to have to make changes, without which you can’t move forward and resolve the problem.
Therapists can be super aware of the losses clients may feel as a result of change, but concentrating primarily on this aspect risks losing sight of how life can improve when changes are made. It’s true that giving up familiar ways of doing things, or letting go of long held views that are keeping you stuck can be difficult and you may feel like you’ve temporarily lost your moorings, but what about the gains that come from change?
Change requires practice, but taken in small, manageable steps and keeping going despite setbacks is all part of the process. It can be a surprising and positive experience. The solution-focused therapist is there to help you manage the process and adapt or moderate changes which aren’t quite working for you. When you see the positive results from changes you are making you will be encouraged to maintain the gains and search for other areas where you can make improvements by doing something different. Once you start making changes (however small) there is a domino effect and other changes will begin to happen, sometimes in areas which may be unforeseen. I’ve seen this happen many times with clients and clearly it’s worth the effort. It’s worth considering that if you’re finding it impossible to follow up on any of the changes you’ve set for yourself, maybe you don’t really want what they might bring, or maybe you’re not ready to make them yet. The good thing is, the choice is yours.
This post was stimulated after following some lively debates in the media about new year resolutions. These can be tricky things, so if you’re a brave soul who has made some new year resolutions and is set on changing something for the better, remember to go slow, be realistic and break down your goals into small, manageable steps. Feel able to adapt your goal if need be – circumstances can change so flexibility is key! In my experience and those of my clients, if you can set about it like this then you’re much more likely to succeed. You may find it interesting to take especial notice of how others will be reacting differently to you and around you as a result of your changes.
Good luck with the gains and
Happy New Year!