So, without sounding arrogant, I would like to explain how therapy works. At least in my office. At least…if you want results and you want to be successful. You come in, we talk, you listen, you follow the rules, life changes for the better. It’s that simple. I don’t care what people say, it is really that simple.
I’ve written about resistant clients and how they are difficult to work with in therapy. Why would anyone want to work with resistant clients. I explain it to my clients like this. Pick a sport; ok, you say tennis. You want nothing more than to be a great tennis player. You go out, you get this awesome coach. Everyday, he takes time developing conditioning exercises and lobs balls at you, but you just stand there. You’re only going to get out of it what you put into it. But imagine if you push as hard as you can. What if you had a coach that constantly yelled at you; “Are you giving it all you got?” That’s what most of us need to be successful. I’m only here today because I was blessed to have such therapists, teachers, mentors and coaches. I also ask my clients, regarding sports, if they learned more by playing someone easier than them or tougher than them. They all say it is more challenging to play someone tougher and it makes them a stronger athlete. The same is true of therapy.
I’ve been blessed to be able to see clients from every background and for all different kinds of reasons. To me, it is a challenge and enriches my soul to have a client trust me with helping them, much like it must feel to a coach of a professional athlete. I have recently begun working with a new client who struggles with several issues, but most importantly, his difficulty socializing in large groups. I had made several suggestions to him; all of which he had followed and jokingly, suggested that he should go out that weekend. He laughed and we agreed that his walking around certain social streets might be enough for now. And then Saturday night…I ran into him while I was out with friends. At first I was so surprised I couldn’t believe it. I think he thought it was awkward for me, which it wasn’t, but in reality, all I could think as I walked away was, damn…he’s making huge progress. I was so proud of him. It was awesome to be able to witness the smile on his face and be part of that smile. And if he can do that, he can do so much more. He’ll probably regret making so much progress because I believe in maxing out my athletes!
But he is the one that will ultimately benefit because it is his growth, not mine, although I learn and grow from each of my clients as well. Because he took my advice and suggestions sincerely, realizing I want nothing more than the best for him, to be as successful as possible, he himself will achieve his dreams. And that is such a cool thing!
Recently, I’ve been reading “Force of Nature” by Laird Hamilton; a professional surfer. The book discusses encompassing body, mind and soul to help achieve greater well being. Although this book is much about fitness, I love it because this guy is truly living his dream, in sport, career and family. He realizes we are on borrowed time. He has now surfed some of the toughest waves and is currently swimming The English Channel and setting further lofty goals for himself. He constantly pushes himself and believes in questioning; “Are you giving it your all.” It’s as simple as following that one rule. Give it your all! For yourself; because you care enough about yourself. Honestly, as a therapist, it’s easy for me to sit in a session with someone who talks the whole time about past issues unresolved or doesn’t do assignments or challenge themselves. I’m going to sit there nonetheless, but typically, I don’t work with those clients very long. I like to be successful too…and that does not help me achieve my goals.
Recently, I wrote a blog post, eliciting anyone that had a dream they wanted to accomplish or complete. I stated that I could help that person achieve their dream in one year. It didn’t matter that they lived close to me; we could work together via phone, email, etc. I also stated that compensation was something we could work on together and that it wasn’t my main goal in helping this one person achieve their dream. What exactly was their dream worth? I stated that I would read the dreams that people submitted and the best one would be who I would work with individually. Honestly, I thought I would get a lot of submissions, thinking most readers would think, “what do I have to lose”. Guess how many I received? Zero. Not one reader felt their dream was important enough to have fulfilled.
For years I’ve had people become frustrated that they are not getting better or they don’t see the point in therapy. Something’s missing they say. Yep, you’re not following the rules. Pick an athlete…any athlete that is amazing and see how hard they push themselves to be the best. Aren’t you at least worth that mentally. I know I am. And most of us don’t have much time to figure that out…some dreams take some time to achieve…and we’re on borrowed time as it is…