Your Journey to Your Better Self
The therapeutic process is a journey, not an end destination. I always talk to my new clients about the “journey” of therapy. Philosophically viewing therapy as a “process” or “journey” instead of an end goal produces great results and makes the entire experience much more enjoyable. While we set achievable goals to know when therapy is successful, clients get an instant boost from knowing that they’re on the road to bettering themselves.
We can get stuck worrying about the overwhelming mountain in front of us instead of the process of climbing. The goal is not to get to the top of the mountain but rather to take one more step towards the top. Therapeutic success lies in trying to be your better self each day.
Step 1: Decide to take the journey
The first step in the therapeutic journey is deciding to take the journey. In real life terms, this means you make a decision to be better, “I want to be better.” This step takes lots of courage and vulnerability. To this day, I think it’s one of the hardest steps. We all get so busy with our lives that it feels like extra work to better ourselves. Luckily, working to better ourselves makes us feel great. The benefits greatly outweigh any perceived “work.”
Going from “stuck” to “moving” takes a great amount of effort. Fortunately, once your start moving, momentum starts to take over. Once you start feeling a bit better, you’ll be even more motivated to keep going.
Step 2: Evaluate where you’re at
The next step on the therapeutic journey is taking an honest evaluation of where you’re at. Being honest with ourselves takes vulnerability and courage. It helps to work on your self-esteem during this step. We all have great qualities about ourselves so it’s important to remember how great you are while identifying your weaknesses. Start this step by identifying your strengths and things you like about yourself. Once you’ve given yourself a bit of a boost, it’s time to get honest with yourself about how severe the problem is.
Step 3: Start planning and take action
I’ve got good news: Once you’re ready to start taking steps towards being your better self, you’re already in the thick of the therapeutic process. As a therapist, I often see clients once they’re at this step. They come to me thinking that they’re at the beginning of the journey. In reality, they’re already well on their way! Heck, even making an appointment with a therapist and showing up for the appointment is already MUCH better than doing nothing. While you might not have completed your goal, you’re nowhere near the beginning. It’s time to keep that momentum going.
The therapeutic journey is not always a straight path. During the journey, there are times of great growth and healing. Then there are times of feeling “stuck” and days where you might relapse. Overall, it’s important to realize this is all part of the journey. Understanding the stages of change can help you become more resilient. Learn more about the stages of change, known as the Transtheoretical Model, by clicking here.
In my blog about “Maximizing Therapy” I also speak about how clients can change their mindset in order to maximize the therapeutic benefit. My most successful clients view therapy as a journey towards getting better, rather than having to come into their medical appointment.
I hope that these tips will encourage you to begin your therapeutic journey towards becoming a better self. Even if you have already embarked on this journey, remember that working on yourself is always worth it.
If you live in the Winston-Salem area and would like help starting your therapeutic process, contact Christopher John Counseling. Chris J. Koniarczyk, LCMHC, LPC, LAC brings excitement into the therapeutic process and helps clients stay motivated towards therapeutic change.