Raising Conscious Awareness

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What we notice time and time again when working with new clients is that they believe they’ve isolated what their main problem is and the reason they’ve set up a session is to hear the magic words that will help them quickly change themselves and their lives in order to eradicate the problem.

But in our experience the presenting problem that clients brings to therapy is almost never what’s really wrong. It’s more like a jumping off point, a good place to dive in. After a few weeks or a few months they’re no longer interested in talking about or even thinking about that issue. They come to see that it’s simply one of many symptoms caused by deeper underlying psychological forces.

Even if the presenting problem really were the one and only issue though clients are putting the cart before the horse when they express their wish for a quick and easily solution that will help them instantly change. They’re not being realistic about the process of change. Their hope for making global changes pretty much overnight will only lead to a sense of failure and despair.

From our perspective the only goal in the early stages of change should be raising conscious awareness around the psychological forces operating in one’s specific life situation. Without that psychological ammunition people are grasping at straws. Any positive change has to come from the freedom to make that change, and freedom is impossible when thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are the result of psychological forces operating outside of conscious awareness.