“WHEN YOU BECOME COMFORTABLE WITH UNCERTAINTY, INFINITE POSSIBILITIES OPEN UP IN YOUR LIFE.” -ECKHART TOLLE
I’m sure we’ve all heard it many times: learn to let go of your need to control; trust in the process; enjoy the journey; stay in the moment. And when we are met with uncertainties in life, how incredibly difficult is this “limbo”? Left in waiting, hoping for the results that we are seeking? It is exactly those times that leave us feeling uneasy.
What if we were able to shift our thinking in those moments? Can we find a way to breathe a sigh of relief? Can we challenge ourselves to stay present? Can we find some valuable lessons along the path we are walking? Perhaps, these moments can help us learn more about our journey, or force us to confront and face some of our deepest fears. I believe that if we can pause at these times in our life it will help us prioritize and recognize what we’ve been missing in the hum of our daily lives.
One major cause for anxiety is the fear of the unknown future. What if we were able to just simply take life as it comes? Knowing that we are perfectly capable and adept at handling whatever might arise. To believe that our knowledge and truth is exactly what will serve us well in the present and any future moments.
The future is uncertain in so many ways. Any attempt to stop or distract ourselves from worrying thoughts only intensifies them. Worrying involves repetitive circular thinking, which is associated with anxiety and produces no practical outcomes that you can act upon. Worry is difficult to let go of, especially when you are not making progress, which makes you even more anxious. Next time, try to accept the present moment without judgment. Rather than saying “I need to stop worrying” try to accept “I am just worrying”. This is subtle, but significantly, different from avoidance. It is not running away from or suppressing the unpleasant thought. Rather, it is the non-judgmental labeling of the word “just”. This allows the worrying thoughts to come and go but takes the sting out of them.
The worry and anxiety often robs us of the ability to fully enjoy what we have in the moment and all the beauty that is around us. The unknown future and fear of it can cripple us. It can shade everything into a darkness that shuts out all the beauty and all the light. If we embrace our present, whatever that might look like for today, we can find beauty in the little things. Because isn’t that what makes this life so beautiful? The moment playing with your pet, finding a few minutes in your day to connect with someone you care about, or perhaps taking a walk outside. The more we can bring all the little things to light the more beauty, happiness, and contentment we will find.
When I meet a client for the first time in my office, I want to help them feel at ease. Coming into therapy can be a frightening experience. When was the last time you walked into a stranger’s small office, sat down across from them, and told them the most concerning or uncomfortable things about your life?
If you’re thinking about it, please know that we do understand that starting the process of therapy can be extremely difficult. Sometimes clients call us after it has been on their “to-do” list for weeks, months, or even years. Perhaps a new client has been urged by friends or family to talk to someone for years before they finally make that call to a therapist. Other times, a person recognizes a need and calls the same day. I rarely know much about a new client’s process of coming to us when I meet them in my office for the first time. It’s my job to help them feel at ease.
Here is what to expect: I usually tell them a little about myself. Usually, this is reasons why I live here or what I studied in school that helps me do this work. I often talk about my style of counseling so they know what to expect with me. I might tell a client where I went to graduate school or how I came to know that I wanted to be a psychotherapist. It’s my goal to do this for just a few minutes to help the client see me in the light of a helping professional.
Of course, we always have paperwork to do, and we will make time to do that at some point in this first session, but my first priority is to create a feeling of safety for my client.
Then I try to get out of the way. What I mean by that, is that I try to give them the opportunity to tell me, in their own words, what it is that led them to this appointment today. What prompted them to make that call and ask someone they’ve never met before to meet with them. I’m trying to determine from these first moments with a new client how I might be able to help them make their life better in some way. The more the client can tell me about why they’re here, the better I can begin to formulate a treatment plan to help.
By the end of that first session, if they’ve had enough time to share your story about why they are here, I’ll be able to talk about how I think we should begin. I’ll engage the client in the process of creating our initial treatment plan together. That treatment plan is unique to the individual and it may need to shift and change as we work together – that’s normal. The most important things about having a treatment plan are that we always remain focused on why the client is here, how we are working towards their goals in therapy, and how we will know when they’ve reached those goals.
If you’re considering therapy for the first time or for the first time in a long time, make that call. Reach out to us to inquire about what we do and how we might be able to help you. You don’t need to do anything more than that. Make the call and then show up!