How I approach change
Psychotherapy and coaching have to do with change. An individual comes to meet me and what they are basically asking is how they can make a change to themselves or to their life. Sometimes the awareness that making a change to our lives derives from making a change to ourselves is not there yet, but the person who comes to the door of therapy or coaching and crosses the threshold of entering of their own volition is close to finding that out for themselves.
The most important step has already been made by asking for the first session. That action has in it the awareness (albeit not in these words) that “I am not a “self-preservation” system” and “I am not everything to myself”. Instead, there is the basic awareness (again not in these words) that “I am a relational human being that needs some kind of interaction which will help me make changes”. Everything can now happen since one is open to another.
[Of course it is a vulnerable position to be in and a qualified professional is required on the other end – so I will write below my values and in particular respect and confidentiality]
I think this is the place where I need to quote someone… And yes I will. Martin Buber has said that “Through the Thou, a man becomes I” which I have found out to be a fact of life.
So how does change happen?
I abide by the paradox of change which basically says things like:
- Change happens anyway,
- Change is standing still
- You can’t cross the same river twice.
What this means for me and how I work, is that I need to stay with what is, what I currently have in my life and who I currently am and look at that in an honest and compassionate way. Not as an exercise of judgement or in a guilt-inducing way but as a simple observation exercise or an exploration towards self-discovery.
What this kind of observation exercise in a relational context does, is that it creates space by clearing what is not needed – evade tactics, resistances, fighting back, fighting against, flying away from, giving in and all other energy draining things we do to ourselves. And since it is so difficult to see ourselves for who we are since we all have blind spots, the Other is essential in making change happen by standing still with us.
So what are my values to make this change happen?
Respect would be my number one, and what this basically says is that I will not go somewhere you are not willing to go. I might challenge you, but you are totally free to say no and state you don’t want to discuss something further. I will listen to that without you having to repeat yourself.
Confidentiality is a part of respect but makes something more clear. I will not share your information unless there is a danger to your life or the life of others. You can share whatever you want with whomever you want, but rest assured that I will only share anonymously some info for supervision or case studies but no one will be able to put a name or face behind such a story as personal data is kept confidential.
Openness is the final value I will mention here because I don’t want to bore you when reading this. It has to do with me being open to listen, to be influenced and to be moved and open to provide feedback to you when it serves the purpose of healing, change or learning.
Photo by Paul Csogi on Unsplash