So often, when I sit down with an individual person, or a family I hear something along the lines of, “fix it,” or, “fix me.”  Here’s the thing about getting better – this (whatever it is – anxiety, depression, relationship issues) didn’t manifest overnight, and it isn’t going to go away overnight.

By the time most people seek out professional help for a mental health issue, the issue has become so big and unbearable that it can no longer be ignored.  Then they make their appointment, wait a week or two (if they’re lucky) to see someone and then show up hoping for an answer to their problems.  Here’s a hard truth: psychotherapists and counselors do not hold the keys to the universe, and cannot solve all your problems in a single 55-minute session. It took you years to get to this spot, it’s going to take some time to sort through it, build skills and move forward.

Here’s Another Hard Truth About Getting Better

Psychotherapy is hard work.  It takes courage, and tenacity to pull through an emotional obstacle.  If you have a therapist you connect with, it won’t feel as hard and you might even enjoy it.  But you can expect to feel uncomfortable at some point in session and as you work through whatever it is that brought you here.  Discomfort is the meat and potatoes of psychotherapy.  It’s where the work gets done, and the growth happens.  It’s also a scary place to be because it feels vulnerable.  The good news: your therapist knows that, and will make sure you have the skills to cope with it.  The even better news: that the more time you spend growing, the more you’ll experience the increased confidence that you can and will get better.

As much as we wish it were – this is not Hogwarts, it is Real Life Counseling. There is no magic wand here. They didn’t hand those out with our licenses to do this. We wish they would have – it would have made life, and our jobs, so much easier.

The other thing about counseling that most people don’t realize is that it isn’t a counselor’s job to “fix you.” That’s your job.  Our job is to guide, reflect, validate, lend an objective perspective, and help you build skills.  You’re the one that must actually do the work.  I often tell clients, “I will work hard for you, but I will not work harder than you.” It is your life, and I’ll help you own it.

You Can Do This

In nearly every superhero movie there is a scene in which some person in a crowd sees some kind of danger and shouts out, “Hey! Look over there!!” Then the superhero looks, and leaps into action and makes the big rescue.  Psychotherapists are your “person in the crowd” in your very own superhero movie in which you are the superhero.  We can point it out, but we can’t do the work that saves the day.  You can though.  We know it because we have seen it time and time again.  You can do this.  It will be hard, but you can do hard things.  And the best part is when you work with a therapist at Real Life Counseling, you won’t have to do it alone.

Mackenzie Dunham

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