A New Foundation for the Future
I recently needed the foundation of my home strengthened. Due to some faulty work when the home was constructed, walls were not correctly attached to the foundation. The wear and tear of life on the home eventually caused cracks to appear in those walls that were not securely connected to the foundation. Left unattended those cracks were getting bigger, more unsightly, and ultimately, they would cause bigger problems with the whole construction. By securing the foundation, the home is now reparable and will withstand the normal stresses on the life of this house for many, many years to come.
This analogy fits what I believe about how people shift and change when they encounter the stresses of life. What you believe about yourself and how you behave is the construction of many influences: your biology, your upbringing and your life experiences. When your family history, troubling experiences or too much stress in your life shake you from your foundation, then your behavior and emotional states can start to show ‘cracks’ that need to be repaired.
Talking to a professional, which may be called counseling or psychotherapy or simply therapy (depending on the ‘jargon’ of the person with whom you are speaking) can help you repair a faulty foundation or get re-secured to a solid foundation so you can repair the cracks and flexibly withstand whatever life brings to you.
What I Believe About People and Change
…that people can change.
…that people can get rid of symptoms that trouble them.
…that people can change patterns of behavior that they do not want to continue.
…that people can improve their relationships with others by making positive changes in themselves.
…that wanting to change is essential, but it is usually not enough to accomplish that goal.
…that guidance can help people make the changes that reflect their best selves.
…that people can become happy with their lives.
What Does Professional Help Involve?
To make a change, it is necessary to know where you want to go, but also where you are starting from. Therapy can help with all of the process: helping understand where you are now and how you got here is only one part. Good professional help can offer you direction and guidance for the “how to”:
- how to change emotional states (including decreasing anxiety and depression),
- how to change patterns of behavior (including letting go of past troubles and hurts)
- how to change ways of getting along with others.
Counseling requires effort – and not just for the therapist. It is work for those who want to examine their way of being in the world and change in a positive direction. Whether you want to feel better or do better or have better relationships with others, change starts within you and this requires courage to look honestly at yourself and courage to try something different and new. When change is your goal you have to work at doing things differently. Not all people have the persistence for such change, but therapy can help you strengthen your motivation and increase your determination while providing direction for your work.