As we ring in the new year, many of us like to take a few moments to reflect on where we've been and plan for where we'd like to go in the year ahead. Setting New Year's resolutions may seem like a cliché, but it's always a good idea to take stock of progress and to make sure that we are headed in the right direction in therapy.
So, this week, I've been checking in with my clients, discussing the changes they've seen (or not seen), and exploring the goals they'd like to set for the future.
Often, they say that they want to "work harder on their speech" or "practice more" or "use their techniques more" or somesuch. This is great, of course—there's nothing wrong with practicing, and sometimes we need to redouble our efforts in order to achieve our goals.
Still, I wonder about the underlying feelings and beliefs behind these goals. Is it because people are seeing progress that they value and are therefore driven to seek even greater success? Or, is it because they are feeling dissatisfied with where they are and are therefore driven to "fix" themselves?
Either answer reflects a powerful motivator for change. The more we understand the reasons behind our clients' New Year's resolutions, the more we can support them in therapy. Clients who are experiencing success can be supported with greater challenges; clients who are struggling can be supported with increased emphasis on self-acceptance and more careful pacing of therapy.
There's much more to say about what to do when clients are struggling...that's the theme I'll pick up in the next entry...