Updated: Jun 18, 2020
“In times of change, learners inherit the Earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.”― Eric Hoffer
A few months ago, I decided to expand my work across the state of Texas - specifically, to do more online work with couples. Experiences over this last year, of working online with couples, helped me discover I very much enjoy this way of working. Then, over the course of the last 3½ months, having moved my entire practice online (as a result of the pandemic), I became increasingly clear that I want to do more online work with couples.
I’ve written here what I’ve learned over the last year from the couples with whom I’ve worked - what they like about working online, and what they like about working in the office. In this current post, I share more about my experience of therapy in general….how I see and experience this work.
I’ll start by saying - I love what I do.
I am passionate about helping people, especially couples, meet and move through challenges they face.
It’s so easy for all of us to get in unhelpful ruts in life and relationally. And, for couples especially, there tends to be a strong assumption that therapy is likely to be a pretty terrible experience, an experience of hashing through every little one of these uncomfortable details of their relationship.
This is not the case.
While there are often challenges to be met and worked through, therapy isn’t only about meeting challenges. In fact, I first work toward helping couple’s develop a new mindset oriented towards learning and growth.
In Imago, we have a phrase we love: “Conflict is growth trying to happen.”
Think about how adopting this attitude would transform your relationship.
Rather than experiencing conflict as something dreadful and to be avoided, consider making a mutual commitment to this new mindset: When conflict shows up, it’s there to lead us into a deeper and more alive connection, with myself and with my partner.
A big part of the work I do with couples is helping them adopt and live into this new framework. It is transformational.
The couples and individuals who come in to do this work, they are without a doubt, the bravest and most courageous of people.
They show up in my office (or on my computer) ready to work. They trust me with this work. They trust themselves and one another to venture into unknown places.
Growth is a choice to step into the unknown.
In my life, I am steadfastly committed to learning and growth. And, I bring these values into the work I do with all clients.
Interestingly, people often come to therapy thinking I will “have the answers.” And, yes, I do have a lot of training, a lot of years of doing this work, and clear ideas of things couples can do differently to move toward a more satisfying relationship.
However, the real truth is that you, the couple, hold the particular keys you need to solve the challenges you face, and to grow through them.
I listen closely and I learn from you. As I learn, I help you learn about yourself and your relationship. Through this process, as you grow to feel more comfortable with me, with yourself, and with one another, you gradually shift into a mindset of curiosity...and then real magic happens.
You truly learn new things about yourself, one another, and your relationship. ….things that make a positive and lasting difference.
Someone asked me recently if my work was something like this…”you hear the same problems just recycled a little bit differently.” It’s not like that at all.
Sure, there are similar patterns that show up for couples. However, for each couple there are unique pieces that make up their particular puzzle.
Taking time and doing the work, couples come to understand their unique solutions. This requires risk and courage, and it leads to real transformation and healing. I can’t do this work with couples without their willingness to venture into these unknown places.
I believe each of us is a difference-maker in this world. How you relate to yourself and one another - you always have a choice as to what type of contribution you are making.
When you can truly relate to yourself and your partner with curiosity and an intention to learn and grow together, you contribute significantly to the world being a better place.
The best part of all of this is that small changes you make in how you interact with one another...these small changes end up making a world of difference!
“Actually, all education is self-education. A teacher is only a guide, to point out the way, and no school, no matter how excellent, can give you education. What you receive is like the outlines in a child’s coloring book. You must fill in the colors yourself.”
― Louis L’Amour