The people we want to change are often not in the counseling room with us. This is a difficult reality for many clients who encounter unhelpful relationship patterns. There they are, doing the hard work in and between sessions, hoping to experience some sense of shared progress, but what may end up being a disappointing one-sided result.
Dare I say that this can often be a rub of individual counseling.
But alas, not all is lost. Typically the most frustrating points in the therapeutic process end up yielding the most valuable insights. It is a bittersweet paradox, and one certainly worth experiencing.
Jon Kabat-Zinn has famously shared that “you cannot stop the waves, but you can learn how to surf.”
I remember how discouraging it was to learn how to stand up on a surfboard — at first, it seemed impossible! After repeated practice, however, my fear decreased and confidence increased. Much like the unpredictability of the waves, we are guaranteed to have trouble come our way. And when it does, there is a way for us to move with what goes against us.
In the counseling room, we learn how to surf. It can be challenging just as much as it can be rewarding… and they go hand-in-hand.
Written by: Michael Kanner