Psychotherapy is filled with all sorts of theories attempting to explain WHY people fail, get depressed, don’t follow through. I was taught terms like “resistance,” “self-sabotage,” “secondary gains,” and “hidden agendas.”
In my experience, most people who state they want to improve some aspect of their life really do want to improve some aspect of their life. They’re not lying. Of course, there might be deeper, older issues or experiences that impact the outcomes people get… but what I see most often are people who don’t know HOW to focus on the steps to take now or even which skills to develop.
People spend a great deal of time and money looking for the answers to WHY questions: “Why can’t I enjoy a social gathering? Why do I keep losing and gaining weight? Why can’t I fall asleep? Why can’t I get on that airplane?”
Productive solutions and strategies result from asking HOW: “How do I create focus and calmness? How do people who stick to an exercise program stick to an exercise program? How do I get myself to do things that make me anxious but are important to me and my family?”
I describe myself as a HOW therapist. Just like the coach who taught you HOW to hit a backhand or the teacher that taught you HOW to multiply fractions, I teach helpful techniques. Therapy should show and teach people what to DO differently. The past most certainly can get in the way–even as it helps us understand the patterns that exist–but it needn’t define how we move into the future.
Improvement and change require resources, both internal and external. My job is to help access the ones you’ve already developed (and perhaps forgotten about) and create the new ones you need.
From the first session, children and parents will learn skills that boost confidence and foster adaptive thinking and positive results. Success in therapy is often based on taking action, positive expectancy, and building some immediate momentum in the right direction.
What do you think?
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