Many folks entering therapy come with hope for change while others come without hope or with hope dashed and little ability to imagine change. One of the most rewarding experiences for a therapist is to witness someone discover hope, clarify what they would like to change and then find the guts to embark on new experiences and journeys.
Recently I had the privilege to witness change. After four years of working with a very hopeful and otherwise successful man battle alcohol, I attended his 1 year of sobriety celebratory AA Recovery meeting. When he walked into my office five years ago, he came with a glimmer of hope – knowing something should be different – but had little idea of the next steps to take. Despite a very active social life, he was lonely for LGBT friends/family. He wanted a boyfriend. He wanted to be in better shape. He wanted to lose weight. But without vision, without a clear idea of how to change, it was sometimes hard to sustain hope. The route was long, sometimes difficult, sometimes circuitous. But he persevered. His life is utterly transformed.
How? While difficult to articulate specifically for any one person, the crucible of hope and change involves a number of factors:
Safety – therapist and client establish trust. Therapist offers empathic understanding and emotional support while the client engages in commitment to the work. For some this comes quickly, for others it takes time.
Exploration – feeling safe, a client dares to hope and envision new possibilities for his or her life.
Struggle – new possibilities spark emotional challenges and bring forth conflict making some question, “is change worth it?”
Risk – little effective change comes without confronting the anxiety monster. Coping strategies are discovered. External supports are utilized. This struggle of confrontation is often the heartbeat of change.
Practice – new behaviors/experiences must be repeated to solidify change and bring true reward. Success brings more success.
Time – real transformation involves a journey to an as yet unknown place.
Quick and Easy? Probably not. Realistic? For sure. Worth it? You bet. LGBT Counseling is here to help. Let’s start your journey.
Have you been longing for hope and struggling to change? Make today the day you take the first step. Contact one of our members, and let's find the future you've been waiting for.
We’re Looking to the Future, by Catching Up With the Past