[Read the transcript below]
In my last vlog I talked to you about some of the major obstacles to change.
Today I’d like to follow that up and talk to you about how therapy, and your therapist, can actually help you navigate those tricky obstacles. Because, for me as a therapist, that’s the work.
Yes, it’s about helping you understand how you got into the position that you’re in, and it’s about helping you understand the factors that maintain unhelpful thinking and unhelpful behavior, that’s all true.
But then it’s really about helping you move forward and helping you navigate the obstacles between where you are and where you want to be.
Now, different therapists have different ways of helping you change.
For me, one way I like to think about therapy is as if we’re a team and we’re going on a very big road trip.
I’m in the passenger seat with the map and you are in the driver’s seat. You have got control of the steering wheel, the accelerator, and the brake. There are a lot of different ways that we can get to where you want to go, and we’ll decide that together. We may even detour a bit because, well, you usually do and detours can be fun on a road trip.
But if you don’t drive, if you don’t put your foot on the accelerator, we’re not going to go anywhere. We’re just going to sit here fantasizing, thinking about where we might go. And that may help a little bit at the start of therapy, but at some point, we have to figure out what stands between you and putting your foot down.
Now, the biggest part of my job isn’t actually just reading the map, it’s teaching you to move from driving an automatic, and teaching you to drive in a manual transmission. Staying in automatic means you don’t really think about how you’re driving. And change, no matter what it is you’re trying to shift, requires you to slow down, tune into what you’re thinking and feeling, and then make new choices.
Remember, the things that you’ve come to therapy for, the things that you want to change, they may be causing you trouble, they may be causing you strife, but they are familiar. And because they’re familiar, it’s going to be much easier to keep doing what you’ve been doing.
So, before you can actually choose to do something new, you have to learn, you have to take the time to notice when you are feeling and thinking something unhelpful. To press the pause button, and then choose something different.
Now, doing all of this is actually a really intricate process. And the big part of our work is teaching you how to break this process down and get through it successfully.
I have a myriad of skills, and tools, and techniques that can help you to do this, and these go way beyond just talking.
Remember, change is very hard. I always like to say that if it were easy you would have done it yourself a long, long time ago. It’s okay to need a little bit of help to see clearly, and to slow down, and to navigate the obstacles between where you are and where you want to be.
But with you in the driver’s seat and a trusted therapist in the passenger’s seat, you can get to where you want to go. You may even get to places that only ever really imagined.