When people come into therapy, they often struggle with separating what they can and cannot control. They know that something needs to change, but are not entirely clear on what that is. The clarity of this need is often under the mire of a complicated history and/or a current crisis, so it is difficult to separate the need from the surface symptoms. Therefore, it is not uncommon to feel stuck in an unhappy situation. Making sense of this need is often the first step of the therapeutic process. Only then will real change occur.
Changing is not easy. The most challenging part of this process is taking full responsibility for our current situation. Even if we didn’t choose the circumstances that have led up to the present, you always have options. That is a blessing, but doesn’t necessarily make things easier. For this reason, I have to remind many of my clients that therapy can be a challenge. When you start therapy, it is likely that you know that you feel stuck and are tired of feeling this way. However, you may not know what to do with this. It is important for the therapist to push you to see what you can change. In that process of changing yourself, and stepping away from the idea that if you could change others, your life would be better, a lot of frustration can occur. Although “quick fixes” have their place, it is easier to fall into old patterns of behavior if you stop only addressing short-term symptoms. Real change is a long-term process. Understanding your place in the situation that you are experiencing can be uncomfortable. However, a full understanding can give you the perspective that will help you finally feel how you want to feel.
Remember that the therapeutic process is a challenge. Frustration is common when making any long-term change. If you are feeling frustrated, remember that this is OK, but keep your long-term goal in mind. When you have a clearer view, the possibilities are endless. So don’t be afraid to trudge through what you thought you could never make it through before. It is likely that when you come out on the other side, how you feel and live like you never thought possible before.