It might seem like an ‘of course I am’ question, but as a psychotherapist in Dundee, with clients from Edinburgh, Glasgow, London – throughout the UK – I have to be sure each person is genuinely committed to the changes they say they want.
I met a lovely guy last month. He had suffered from depression a few times in his life. I didn’t know this as I begun to talk about the speed and effectiveness of the Human Givens approach. He said ‘but what you’re talking about wouldn’t have worked for someone like me; my depression couldn’t have been resolved quickly. It took a long time to get to depression so it took a long time to turn round’. Thankfully, this guy is upbeat, positive and impressively confident today. It did get me wondering though about how much a psychotherapist can deliver if their client holds a set of limiting beliefs like that.
Most clients are I’m glad to say committed to quick change; they don’t want another day of depression, panic attacks or trauma symptoms and they’ll re-think, re-prioritise and re-learn – whatever it takes to re-access a life of choices and freedom quickly.
Some say they are but are genuinely not ready for making adjustments. So why would they want to continue with their anxiety, their addiction or their self-harming? Well the answer to that is complex but at the foundation there has to be a perceived benefit (often subconscious) to remaining in their state of difficulty. Perhaps a person gets their attention needs met by not being able to leave their house so instead having family or carers come in and see them every day in the meantime. Perhaps a person likes the control they can exert by keeping to only 500 calories a day when their body wants 1500. Or perhaps a person remains in an abusive relationship because the story they’re playing out is about ‘having someone is better than having no-one’.
Whatever the reason, there will come a point when enough is enough and that’s often when a person will jump onto Google, search ‘therapy in Dundee … or Edinburgh or wherever’, find me (Jennifer Broadley) at Healthy Chat and pick up the phone for a first conversation. Can i just say right now that those people who make it as far as picking up the phone and speaking to me (or one of my Healthy Chat practitioners) are genuinely courageous and change-desiring individuals. For them I have confidence that the structure of how Human Givens psychotherapy is built will serve them quickly and effectively and they’re going to be implementing change and reaping the rewards from as quickly as the first session.
The challenge comes when a parent or a partner has done the persuading and a client is seeing me to pacify that person in their life. They’re showing up in body, by their mind and emotional engagement is totally elsewhere. They haven’t reached the stage yet where the discomfort they’re experiencing on a day-to-day basis is greater than the fear of doing something about it. And unfortunately this mindset is a stretch for any therapist to turn round.
Emotional and mental health have extraordinary subtleties relating to each individual who thinks and progresses through life. To get people back to operating independently, hopefully and creatively is a skill set. To support people to function healthily in relationship with themselves before they attempt to do so with others takes wisdom, know-how and patience. But overall, if a client has been down far enough that the only way now is up, then Healthy Chat, me, Human Givens psychotherapy and all the skills and experience of my therapists WILL make a difference. It’s about power in partnership – because we’re all a part of each other’s solution.