How can I… understand myself better?
Do you ever wish you knew why you keep making the same mistakes?
Do you ever feel stuck in a rut?
Do you ever find yourself wondering what life’s about?
These are the areas clients often want to look at in sessions. Often people come for therapy with no clear idea of what they want to change or to focus on, but with a niggling feeling that things could or should be better in their lives. They might say “I just feel my life needs to be on the next level” or something similar.
It seems that lots of people (men and women equally) have a strong sense that their life isn’t quite working. Perhaps they have already had years of therapy or coaching and feel no further forward in life. Or that work is fine but their personal relationships are stressful. Or vice versa. So the starting point often has to focus on discovering what they want to change for the better.
This can be difficult if people don’t understand themselves or their needs in the first place. However, we can work on this and it often needs to take the form of breaking down people’s existing beliefs about who they are. Sound scary? It can be, because people have invested a lot of time, energy and sometimes money, in forming their identity. Yet, what if that identity is the main thing which is causing difficulties in their lives in the first place? What if that identity is actually hindering the person’s life?
Who are allowing in?
If somebody asked me how to make John to lose his job, his friends, end his marriage, lead him to drug-use, depression, eventual homelessness and prison, with enough time and with my knowledge of personality, I could bring this about. It is interesting to me that some people do these things to themselves and also pay good money to ‘professionals’ to help them get to this point of self-destruction.
If this sounds far-fetched, think about the problems that somebody could cause, no matter how well-meaning if you allowed them free reign with your deepest secrets and most embarrassing desires. It is not illegal in the U.K. to take on clients as a counsellor, therapist, coach, psychologist etc. as long as one does not profess to belong to regulated body. Yet people in general do not know this and genuinely expect that somebody who calls themselves a therapist, psychologist or similar has the skills, knowledge and training to help them. They believe their therapist to be working in their best interests. Sadly, this is not necessarily the case. If your therapist is unregulated, tells you what you want to hear so you keep paying them or meets their own needs for status, respect and admiration through you, then they are hurting you.
So, what can help?
Now, what if John came and asked me how to improve his life in different areas? If John was willing to let go of some existing beliefs he could soar right above his current limiting existence.
Surely that is worth taking the risk, isn’t it? Even if it means changing years or decades of existing self-knowledge. John could really be taken to the next level!
If you think John should take that risk, and you want to take it with him, or just want to find out more, keep reading my regular articles in the How can I. . . series.
But a warning first – I will possibly be challenging what you already believe, I will probably say something different to what you’ve heard before from other mental health professionals and I will certainly be as honest and direct with you as I am with my own clients, friends and family.
All names and identifying details of clients have been changed to protect confidentiality
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