Have I told you lately that I love you?
Did you know that it is common for a client to fall in love with his therapist? Well, it is. Don’t worry, I’m not going to cite statistical averages, or use colorful metaphors about snowflakes, etc. But, I am going to tell you the truth, as I see it. We fall in love with our therapists because they offer us the one thing we’ve always wanted, unconditional positive regard. They fulfill that yawning, gaping, unrelenting need to feel loved, admired, respected.
Where does this need come from? Well, if you’re in therapy (or considering it), it most likely comes from a lack of love or nurturance that began in early childhood. Remember all those times when all you needed was for someone to tell you that you’re wonderful and that everything was going to be okay? You know, when you skinned your knee, or your kite string broke, or you got a B on a test that you studied for all night. Instead, you were probably told that you were stupid, clumsy, and never did anything right. Sound familiar? Well, guess what? Your therapist will never let you down by telling you such terrible lies… which is exactly what makes her so irresistible.
Your therapist is there to remind you of all the things that are great about you and to carefully challenge you to work on the few things that are not so great. All the while, she is modeling for you how you should expect to be treated by others. This is precisely where it becomes tricky. You see, it becomes abundantly clear after awhile that nobody treats you as good as your therapist does. Why? The cynical answer is that it’s because they only see you for one hour a week, in most cases. The truth is that your therapist understands that you have old and painful wounds to heal. She has the training necessary to walk you through the mine field of your past and into the peaceful valley of your future. How could you not love someone who is willing and able to take on such a difficult task with you?
It starts small. You wonder what your therapist is doing at a certain hour on some random day. Then you find yourself wishing that your therapist were with you during a particularly spectacular sunset. Next you’re wishing she could come with you to see this certain movie that really explains how you feel about things. Finally, you start imagining being with her while you’re on vacation with your family. Now you’ve gone too far, and you feel pretty uncomfortable, but somehow excited at the same time. Could she be feeling the same way? No. She can’t. Should she? Definitely not.
Should you tell your therapist about this feeling? Absolutely. Why, you ask, should I ruin everything? Well, that’s the best part. The reason why is because this is where all the work is done. You are at the heart of therapy. After all, this relationship that you are toying with in your mind isn’t real. However, the feelings are. The very best way to explore and resolve the feelings related to your painful childhood can be to explore your feelings about your therapist with your therapist. This is the point where a lot of people quit therapy. Don’t do it. Where else are you ever going to get the opportunity to delve so deep into the origins of your pain? Okay, so you may be thinking, “I DON’T WANT TO DELVE! WHY DO I HAVE TO DELVE?” Answer: To get to the other side. Is it worth it? Without a doubt. Is it painful? Excruciating. Do it anyway. If you’ve come this far, it would be a shame to go back. You’ll miss the view, and it…is…spectacular.
Visit the Our Team page to read about each of our counselors and contact one of us to schedule a Free Phone Consultation and begin your journey to the life you deserve.
To read more about Kim Murphy’s work at Life Skills Resource Group
Continue Reading »
I am currently in the middle of a move and as I have been packing I have noticed some of the similarities between packing and counseling. Moving is about closing old doors to make way to open new ones. It is a time to clear out old items in your closet that you no longer need or want. You may clean areas of your home that you have not seen in a while. Moving also affords you the opportunity to donate items to others who may need them more than you. It’s a time to buy new things and create new spaces. For me, it is also a time to reflect on the memories attached to the home and each item as I pack them. I also vision new memories that I will be making in my new home. Like moving counseling offers the opportunity to clean out and make changes to different areas of your life.
Counseling is an opportunity to gain self-awareness and use life’s difficulties to create growth and change. For example, some individuals struggle with low self-esteem and anxiety. People who struggle with anxiety and low self-esteem often struggle with making negative self-statements as well as using absolutes, such as “never”, “always”, “I have to”. A counselor can help you identify these negative self-statements and help you replace them with positive self-statements that resonate with you. Talking to a counselor can help you carefully analyze troublesome situations, gain new perspectives, and explore options previously not considered. Counseling can help you process feelings and heal from past losses. Like moving, counseling helps take an inventory of a person’s life to see what feelings are worth hanging on to and which ones need to be left behind.
I have chosen to move in the middle of August and many people have called me “crazy” for picking the hottest month of the year. My response to them is, “I am ready to start this new chapter of my life and take on the challenge of turning my new house into a home”. Deciding to go see a therapist does not mean that a person is “crazy” or that he or she is weak-willed. Making the choice to see a therapist is courageous and an act of personal empowerment. It shows that a person is willing to better themselves through hard work and dedication to self. What could be “crazy” about that? Counseling, like moving, takes hard work, dedication, planning, and a willingness to accept change. With awareness, a determination to work hard, and a positive outlook, change can happen through counseling.
Continue Reading »
The Counselors and Life Coaches of Life Skills Resource Group in Orlando do the work we do because we want to participate in making peoples’ lives and relationships better in some way. This may involve helping people: find peace of mind or joy in living, repair ruptured relationships, become more effective parents, learn how to cope with interpersonal situations that are not fixable, make some hard choices for the long-term good, or clarify and develop strategies to achieve specific life goals. Counseling and life coaching cannot provide solutions to all of life’s challenges, but there can be amazing benefit from accessing the resources of our trained professionals.
Although we have all learned similar psychological theories or life coaching approaches, each of us at Life Skills Resource Group in Orlando uses our education and training in our own unique way. Clients are also an active part of the process. Counselors and life coaches contribute certain skills and understandings to the therapeutic encounter, but we are not the “experts” who prescribe what to do and how to do it, while the client passively receives that information. Clients already have their own strengths and skills to contribute. The therapeutic journey involves a co-creative dynamic that emerges from the interaction of each client and each practitioner.
Continue Reading »