These past few weeks have been filled trying to remodel a small little old house into a perfect little office. Countless hours have been spent demolishing, sanding, painting, and rearranging. I found myself frustrated at times when it seemed that every obstacle that could be imagined was encountered. Who says that all the electrical wiring has to actually work (right?!) or that the doors should be at least decently straight, or the walls for that matter?? It wasn't until I finally put the sign up that it seemed I was actually moving forward, that this beaten house was turning into what it was supposed to become. At that moment, I realized remodeling this little old house is much like the therapy process. A process that at times can be agonizing and not pleasant but in the end very rewarding.
We hear it over and over again and yet we don't always believe it--going to therapy does not necessarily mean that something is wrong with you. This house has it's basic foundations set--there was nothing wrong with it; rather there was an opportunity for it to do better or even for me to accept that it was good enough as it was. Many of my clients and families are high-achieving people who are quite healthy. Most are challenged by a specific obstacle like coping with separation from a family member or adjusting to the new set standards set by the school. Therapy isn't about addressing things that are wrong with you. The beauty of counseling is that I can help you to find a new perspective to overcome your obstacle or learn to enjoy its presence in your life. My job is not to fix the issue for you but rather walk along your side and point out the things that you may be missing to help you overcome your obstacle.
With the intention to help you overcome whatever challenge you are faced with, each session ultimately is oriented to helping you move towards your goal. But because you are the one guiding the session, this can look different with every person and in every session. I see this as your personal strength and power within the therapy process. I will not force you to talk about things that you are not ready to talk about. I will not ever tell you what you can and cannot do. I will not listen or look at you with judgment. Rather I will encourage you and try to help you feel comfortable addressing those concerns when you are ready.
Often times the ability to overcome this obstacle does come with its challenges. Much like chipping away paint, you may be challenged to look deep inside to the elements that are holding you back, or what you might find to be a flaw. No one ever likes looking at their perceived flaws, but this is often where the ability to grow comes. It may take moments that you feel hopeless and want to give up--this is normal. But looking back at where you started you can see that you have made improvements--you are moving forward. Upon acknowledging and accepting your flaws, we will work together to build you back up by offering a new coat of paint or helping you learn to rearrange your thoughts so that you can accept the things you cannot change. Again, my job is not to make you feel ashamed of yourself but to help you find your own strength.
In this little house, you will find a fresh coat of paint and new furnishings helped give this little house a sense of what it should be. But a close look at the details will show how the flaws have given the house a sense of character and joy. The walls and doors are still crooked, the porch has spots of chipped paint (already!), and there are paint splatters of where we missed the mark. These flaws are what make this little old house a place of warmth and honesty. Without these flaws, the house would not be the perfect space for you to grow.
I have to give a huge shoutout to everyone that has helped me along the way in transforming this house into the perfect office, flaws included!