Believing that you can change your old patterns
There is new research on change that is very encouraging. But first, the context:
At the top of our website, you see the phrase: When you’re ready to make real changes. This really says a lot.
For one thing, it says that therapy is about change. You come in because in some way you’re not functioning the way you know you should. Maybe you have negative emotions that are painful and debilitating. Maybe you are stuck in your life, unable to get out of a bad situation or to stop behavior that isn’t working for you. Maybe you can’t make your relationship work.
Whatever the case, you need to change. Not completely, of course. You’ll always be the essential you. But you need to change in important ways, even if the change consists only in getting new skills.
But our little phrase also says that you can make real changes. This is something we know many people are very skeptical about. “What, me change?” Let’s face it: we’re skeptical because we’re discouraged. We’ve tried to change! And it hasn’t worked!
I understand. But I think we all forget that a change-oriented professional can do things that an amateur can never do. We’ve all had the experience of trying to unsnag some computer glitch, and nothing we think of works. But a pro can unsnag things in a snap. It’s the same with individual and couples and family therapy.
And this is where the new research comes in. Research heads and former psych majors will want to read the original article, but for the rest of us, here’s the bottom line. (more…)