With autumn comes change . . . cooler mornings, leaves turning beautiful reds and oranges. . . and shorter days are a few of the most notable to mention.
But while the seasons change with ease, most people struggle with change. Even though one might see the need and/or importance to change behaviors why do some struggle with it? Why is there resistance?
Resistance is part of the human condition. One might see all the positives of what lies ahead. Many want to get to that end point. Most want to do the right thing but very few want to do the work it takes to get there. That’s the hard part. People say they want to feel better but struggle with the unsettling feelings that may occur on the way.
We all like routine and a sure thing. Even though that "sure thing" may not be good, and in fact damaging, it’s comfortable.
When a person begins in therapy they vow to make improvements. They describe the person they want to be, they share their story and open up their heart. I feel blessed to be with each of my clients and for them to allow me to hear their story. Together we discuss the past, the present and share insight. But insight alone won’t create change.
The work begins when actions change and that’s the scary part. When I begin to focus on actions with a client that ugly resistance shows up. I explain that resistance is there to tell us to watch our step, this is something new. But at some point we need to move beyond that resistance and incorporate change. The more we practice the changed behavior the more comfortable it will feel.
As the therapist, I know how scary change can be and I also know how comfortable the resistance is. My hope is my client will learn that I am there for them. I will help push them, encourage them and praise them for those difficult days of getting through change. When they begin to learn that they will be okay the resistance slowly subsides.
To help keep that resistance at bay, they will build a support system outside of therapy that will follow through with the encouragement, praise and acceptance. Because, when someone feels loved and accepted by others they begin to see themselves as a kind and loving person. When a person begins to feel better about themselves that’s when the magic of change happens. And that resistance that always wanted to hang around continues to dissipate.
For anyone reading this that has been struggling with change let me encourage you to follow through with your hopes and dreams. Don’t feel like you need to go it alone. Surround yourself with people who are supportive and encouraging. Seek out a therapist if you need help beginning. You’d be amazed what you have the power to do!
Liz Birch is a licensed Marriage & Family Therapist who provides services in her office in Orange, CA but also has options for home-based psychotherapy. Her areas of expertise are in communications, relationships, marriage strengthening, stress reduction, depression, trauma, personal growth, ptsd and provides support to the military population and their families. She can be reached via LizBirchTherapist.com, email at LizBirchMFT@gmail.com, or by calling 714-614-0612.
I'm a licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, Psychotherapist, who works with individuals, couples and families. I'm also a thinker, doer, caregiver and idealist. I hope I inspire you to take risks and step out of your comfort zone. You might be surprised what you discover.