While many therapists who work with children and teens view themselves as "child focused", in the tradition of the great Carl Rodgers, who brought a sensitive and inspiring way to work with children to the fore in the world of psychology, there are times in sessions that a therapist needs to be focused on the issue at hand and address it with the client, while also encouraging the child or teen to explore their own self-expression. Sometimes issues of why a family is coming into therapy need to be brought to the surface, and it may not always be comfortable for those in treatment, whether parent or child. The same is true with working with adults, there is a balance of going where the client needs to go, but the therapist, working as a partner in healing, will need at times to bring up feelings, situations, or other issues to aid the client in moving forward.
The goal of therapy is not to leave every session feeling wonderful. Sometimes, you may not feel "so wonderful" after each session. The goal is self discovery, at a pace that is guided by the client but with facilitation with the therapist as your partner, not director or CEO. This is why allowing for alternate modes of communication, such as in art therapy, or other modalities such as EMDR can be so helpful. Self discovery can be similar to rock climbing, which can be an adventure and have its challenges. But the feeling of accomplishment is unmatched when one reaches the "summit" or gets to the place in self discovery where the see their own resilience, strength and beauty as an individual shining through, not matter what they have faced in the past.
My philosophy in working with my clients, is that I will never "force" an issue if the client is not ready, but there are also times when some direction is definitely needed, hence the need for a treatment plan in writing and checking in with the client regularly to make sure that the client's personal goals for therapy are being met in a timely and attentive fashion. Do you have any questions? Are you considering starting therapy? Please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 862-210-9459 for a free 15 minute consultation. I wish you the best as we start this new year. Sincerely, Rita
Your Childhood Does Not Define You.
Some allow whom they were pigeonholed with as an identity when they were children in their family to define their entire lives.
Witness a middle aged man I know, who has built a successful career as a behavioral health professional, but who as a child, had to deal with a family where put downs and being told “You don’t have what it takes” were often heard, What these adults told him did resonate in his head for a long time. As a young man going through college, he stopped and almost didn’t complete his degree, thinking to himself “What would it matter anyway”, and hearing his family’s voices in his head, thinking he would just be another overeducated professional with no skills to find a job. But what got him beyond this to build a successful career as a behavioral health professional that he has today?
All it took was one person.
Yes, you heard me right, one person. This person believed in him, saw talent and potential based on his gifts and gave him through positive statements and other support the strength to move ahead towards his goals by finishing his education, finishing his internships and eventually getting hired at one of his internship sites at his first job. He is now using his experience to help others move ahead with their lives.
We tend to think that we need a multitude of resources to get “past our past” but the opposite is true. There have been cases of children who have lived through abuse, neglect and other horrible childhood circumstances that had one person, yes one person, a friend, a neighbor, a particularly sensitive relative, who saw what was going on in a dysfunctional family and was able to reach out and help that child enough so that they would have the confidence to move forward.
I could list here many resources, particularly in the Internet age, of support groups, organizations, etc. that help adults who have lived through horrible circumstances be able to succeed. There are many out there and they aren’t hard to find. But all it really takes is one person, one spark of confidence, a few genuine positive remarks…to give someone going through either a tormented present or thinking about their traumatic past to move ahead, and the confidence to achieve their goals. It is like being given a thin lifeline, when someone is overboard and drifting in the ocean, you grab onto it, and it pulls you back up on the boat and gets you to your destination.
So we don’t really need a multitude of resources. The resiliency within us wants us to heal and be strong. Just like a cut of our skin has a scab grow over it to aid it’s healing, we have the inner resources in each one of us that with at least one positive person in our lives, can pull us through. Of course resources such as online in real-time support groups as well as our own personal therapy can strengthen us and aid us in this quest, and should be used to help us go further down the line of emotional recovery.
Neuroscience is proving how our brains, like the rest of our bodies, are largely programmed for self-healing. Expressing ourselves through our own creativity aids this tremendously, and allows us to put our past out there in a non-verbal manner, which allows us to digest whatever painful past we are dealing with and be able to integrate it and allow distance ourselves from it. Are you dealing with some sort of pain in your life? Find your own creative way to express it, this will not only allow you to put out there whatever happened and move on, but you shouldn’t be surprised to see that others will see or hear what you have created and be able to relate, so it is a way of joining a community out there of other people who have experienced similar issues in their own childhoods. Find a mentor or therapist who supports your creative expression, in whatever form it takes, art, blogging, music, or anything where you feel you are expressing yourself in your truest form. You can be proactive and be a partner in your own self-healing,