I became a therapist thinking that people just naturally wanted to change, grow, get better, become healthier… and how cool was that going to be to assist in that process?!
Boy, was I naive. After 20 years as a therapist, what I discovered is that it is extremely rare for anyone to make real change unless they absolutely have to.
That’s just Humans 101.
When Does Change Happen?
Your back is up against a wall. Avoidance and denial aren’t working anymore and reality is biting you in the proverbial rear end. Your symptoms are killing you. Or you’ve hit rock bottom. Hard. You’ve finally gotten a wake-up call so loud it’s already burst the eardrums of everyone within a 50-mile radius. Then it dawns on you. Hey, maybe I should do something about this
When Should Change Happen?
Is that the best time to try to work on changing something? When there are no other options left? Actually, (I hate to say it!) it really can be.
What’s My Motivation?
There’s no motivation like this: Learn how to communicate or your wife is going to leave you. (Or she’s already gone and you’re trying to get her back.) Figure out how to resolve conflict better with your boss or you’re going to get fired. Get sober or lose any chance of having a normal life. Oh, and good luck getting your driver’s license back.
Changing Before You Have To
Sometimes knowing that it would be good for you to change just isn’t enough. I still really wish it were. But sometimes you have to know there aren’t any other options left. If you’re smart enough to see that your behavior is getting you to that place where you will eventually hit rock bottom and you decide to do something about it, that’s great. No, it’s more than great. It’s amazing! Because it’s really, really rare.
Deciding to change before you have to gets you a gold star before you even begin.
Dr. Anita Sanz, PhD, Psychologist
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