Can therapy help me to change?
31st May, 2011
Everyone who comes to therapy hopes for change. This change can take various forms -sometimes initially it can be about wishing others would change, but in the end we all know we can't change others so the harder thing is having the courage to look at ourselves.
We all want to change but what we may be less consious of is that we also are afraid of it. It is not easy, otherwise change would be straightforward and no-one would need therapy. Working with a therapist to understand the part of yourself that is scared of change, or in someway attached to the way things are now can be enormously helpful.
When you embark on therapy it is hard to know what can be changed and what can't, - and it doesn't come with any guarantees. In my experience a lot of things can change, but sometimes the challenge is to accept the parts of ourselves we don't like, - to find a way of being kind to them and understand them , rather than rejecting them.
It is also useful to remember that when we feel strongly affected or very critical of something in someone else, it is often because they are either exhibiting behaviour that we are afraid of becoming ourselves, or something we dislike in ourselves. At other times we get upset with someone because they remind us of something difficult about the past, and this personal history is really the issue we need to work on. Whichever of these three it is, in the end it is always personal, and until we understand this we are going to be annoyed by others' difficult behaviour rather than realising they are pushing our buttons, and therefore we need to look at ourselves. When we stay annoyed at their behaviour we stay wishing they would change rather than looking at why we are so annoyed, and then doing the much harder work of coming to terms with the feelings of wishing things had been different.
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