How Therapy Helps You Make Moves
Making a positive change in your life requires that you actively choose to live and tell your story differently. To actualize this sort of change, you have to arrive at a choice point and chose the more difficult path.
A choice point is the moment in which you are faced with doing something in a new way versus the way you have always done.
A choice point is when you decide to quit “trying” to do something and start “doing” it. When trying something brand new, it’s helpful to have someone to help you navigate the unfamiliar terrain. Let’s take a look at what it might be like to recruit a psychotherapist to your make-a-change-team.
The Theory of Change is rooted in the belief that everyone can make a choice to change. This theory focuses on identifying and eliminating behaviors that weaken your mental fitness and keep you from living as the best version of yourself. For the purposes of this article, I will focus on three of the stages of change: Contemplation, Determination and Action.
The Theory of Change recognizes that to activate a change, you first have to be willing to acknowledge that you are engaging in something (a behavior, a relationship, a dead-end career, etc.) that is working against you…that some internal process is malfunctioning. Acknowledging a need for change is labeled Contemplation. You can remain in the contemplation stage for ages. This is because contemplation is heavily laced with ambivalence and ambivalence creates feelings of indifference, impotence, and stuck. But, if you are able to recognize that you’ve arrived at a cross roads (a choice point) of — “acknowledge the problem and stay stuck”, or, “do something differently,” you can launch yourself into the stage of Determination!
The Determination Stage consists of deciding on “do something differently” and is an ideal moment to assemble a change team! A change team can include supporters who are supportive of your investment in creating a positive change and can consist of professionals and friends alike.
A psychotherapist is a solid recruit for your change team. A therapist can act as a supportive force to help you actualize a desired change. The shift from Determination to taking action is the Action Step in the Theory of Change. The work of a therapist is to build a relationship with you, the client, and through that relationship understand the lens through which you see the world. Once you and your therapist have forged this relationship, he/she can help you to try on alternative lenses that allow you to discover new, healthier, and more desirable ways of interacting with the world. Therapists study many psychological theories that speak to how change happens. A gifted therapist is able to leverage this learned knowledge with the experience of applied practice to co-identify the changes you want in your life, understand why it is that you want them, and work supportively to unveil a personalized path to arrive at and maintain desired change.