Everything hurts. You drag yourself to the doctor’s office, answer some questions, take some tests, and hear your doctor say, “I recommend you talk to someone about what’s been going on in your life.” Your doctor hands you a list of recommended therapists in your area. Probably the last thing you feel is heroic. However, in the age of modern psychotherapy, I will tell you how you can be your own hero.
HOW TO BE YOUR OWN HERO
1. Find a psychotherapist with a client-centered approach. Client-centric therapy believes that YOU know what it is that will bring you happiness and fulfillment; the therapist helps you hear that, point out and remove roadblocks, and make course corrections towards your stated goals.
2. Don’t accept a “one-method fits alls” approach. Look for a therapist who will truly listen to you, not insert you into his or her methodology.
3. Listen to yourself. Pay attention to what you are saying, and find away to record those thoughts (journal, computer notes, audio or video recordings).
4. Pay attention to what both you and your therapist keep repeating, and don’t run away. Wherever you find yourself squirming is often exactly what you need to attend to? Getting defensive? Soothe yourself, and dig deeper.
5. Follow through. You’ll never know if changes you wanted to make are effective if you don’t actually practice them.
6. Learn to cultivate your gut instincts. A good instinct, when listened to, builds confidence that you can – and do – generate good ideas, action plans, and choices. It can also protect you when you are about to violate your own beliefs or path.
7. Take your own advice, and learn from what happens. Oftentimes, advice you’ve been handing out to everyone else needs to be applied to yourself. If you find out it was lousy advice, at least you’ll stop giving that advice to others! See if your theories hold true enough to repeat them.
Obviously, I’m a therapist with a strong belief that the client holds the keys to the kingdom when it comes to unlocking the door to more freedom, happiness, and satisfaction in life. As the therapist, I know the more common places to poke and prod, but the client’s honesty in the therapeutic relationship helps the therapist reflect the client’s deepest wishes. Every time a client “comes clean” with his or her life, I issue a heartfelt “thank you” for showing up, for being present and transparent, and for doing him (or herself) a favor by becoming the champion of his own cause.
Isn’t it about time to be your own hero?