I Can't Fix You

It's true.

I know, I know.  This sounds crazy coming from a therapist.  That is why people come see me right?!?!?!

Wrong.

I can’t fix you!

First of all…

You.  Are. NOT. Broken. 

You may be struggling with mental illness.  You may be overwhelmed with life problems. You may feel heart broken or helpless.  You may be trying to overcome trauma.

That does not mean you are broken.

It means you are hurting.  It means you are having a really hard human experience. And yes, coming to a therapist and getting counseling can help.  I believe with all my heart and have seen with my own eyes, huge transformations with people that feel better after working with me, but I assure you, I did NOT fix them! I can’t.

Second, YOU are in control of YOU.  That means you are the one that has to be open and willing to change.  You have to be willing to be open and honest and vulnerable.  You have to be brave enough to face your darkest shadows and confront them.  You have to want to heal and put in the work that it takes to get there.

Third, you decide what will work.  If you are dead set and determined that therapy won’t work, you won’t let it.  You have to trust the process and stick with it.

So how does that work?  How is it that people get better after going to therapy, if the therapist does not FIX them???

It is because, even though I can’t fix you, there are things I can do that will help you heal yourself.

1.  I will listen.  I will REALLY listen to you, in a way you may have never experienced.  In a way that makes you feel so safe, you might be surprised that you are opening up in ways you never expected, saying things you have never told anyone.  I won’t judge you.  I won’t make it about me.  I will simply be with you, as you safely explore your real feelings about your experiences.  I will give you a safe place, where there are no WRONG feelings.

2.  I will be with you as you explore new ways to think about things, new lenses in which to view the world.  I will help you discover your patterns of thought and behavior that you are using and don’t recognize are no longer serving you.  I will help you figure out new perspectives and behaviors that may serve you better, that you aren’t aware of because you are too IN the problem to be able to see the big picture. 

3. I will teach you skills that will empower you to help yourself.  Skills that have been proven by research to help people who have gone through similar things and had similar goals. 

4.  I will believe in you, even when you don’t believe in yourself.  I will hold you accountable for reaching the goals you set out to accomplish and are capable of. I will point out the lies you tell yourself and excuses you make.  I will celebrate with you when you succeed and lift yourself up and I will offer you hope when you fall.

5.  I will empower you to help yourself to a point you will no longer need me.  I won’t abandon you, but I will not create a relationship where you are only okay when you are relying on me.  I will teach you that only you will be able to heal you and you don’t need others outside of you to be okay.  Similar to Dorthy when she got her red slippers and realized she had it in her all along.

No, I can't fix you, but I will be happy to accompany you on your journey to healing and self discovery!

The Most Hated and Forgotten Ingredient in Healing

I have treated hundreds of clients and even I don’t like this important ingredient to healing.  It is frustrating for me and even more frustrating for my clients.   Unfortunately, it is a necessary ingredient when it comes to healing.  What it?

Time.

Think about it.  When you have a physical illness or injury, the doctor will give you what you need to fix it.  Maybe it is an antibiotic or a cast.    Then, you have to wait.  You have to give it TIME to heal!  Let’s face it, we live in a time where instant gratification is the norm.  We have so many of our wants and needs met with the touch of a screen!  Sadly, instant gratification does not always apply to healing human emotion.  So, how does time impact emotional healing?

1.  You Are Not Going to Change Until You Are Ready.

Addicts call this rock bottom.  It is the moment you decide enough is enough and you buckle up and decide to make the changes you need to in order to live the life you want, to heal your emotional wounds.  This is why you can hear the same thing over and over from people who care about you on what you need to do to change, but you don’t do it until you hear it for the 357th time.  It is all about timing.  Sometimes, it takes time for it to be good timing.  When you decide the time is right, you will step up and make that change.

2.  Having An Important Conversation.

I find many people avoid important conversations all together and I highly discourage that.  Have that important conversation!  Just make sure you have good timing when you do.  Do not have important conversations when your emotions are high.  When you are stressed, the part of your brain that manages logical reasoning and problem solving is impaired.  Those are two things that you want to have working correctly when you have that important conversation!  So, give it time, take a time out, allow yourself (and your conversation partner) to cool down, THEN have that conversation.  Not only does this allow the logical reasoning and problem solving part of your brain to be fully functioning, it gives you time to think about what you really want to say.  Plus, you get the time to figure out if you were just grouchy because you were stressed or hungry or if it really something that bothers you.  Sometimes, people don’t want to wait, it makes them anxious to not talk it out right away.  Sometimes people give it time, feel less stressed and then are afraid to go back to talking it out because they don’t want to rock the boat.  In the end, you are likely to get a better result, if you take the time to cool down and then make sure to go back and have that conversation.

3.  Feeling Your Feelings.

There is no such thing as a wrong feeling, but there are feelings that don’t feel good.  Anxiety, anger and sadness are some of the less popular emotions.  When people feel those emotions, they want it to go away as fast as possible.  Substance abuse, distractions, overworking, and ignoring are some ways that people try to make these emotions go away, but those emotions don’t go away until you face them, deal with them and FEEL them.  It is not fun, but giving yourself the time to FEEL those emotions and process them is an important part of healing.

4.  Building Trust and Relationships.

Trust takes time to build and can be broken very easily.  Those that are trying to earn trust back have to give it time for that to happen.  You can be doing everything right to earn that trust back and still be doubted and not trusted until you have been doing the right thing for enough time to earn that trust back.  It can be frustrating and there are no guarantees.  Trust is an important foundation for relationships.  Since it takes time to build trust, it also takes time to build relationships.  This can be frustrating for people that are looking to build friendships and feeling like they can’t connect with people.  Time is also an important ingredient in being able to connect with your partner and your children or any other important relationship you have in your life.   Having trust and healthy relationships takes putting in the time to build it and repair it.  This will not likely happen over night.

 

It is not always easy, but remembering that time is an important ingredient to healing can help you understand why things aren't better already.  That just may be the ingredient you are missing!

 

5 Ways to Beat Loneliness

Loneliness is a peculiar thing.  You can feel lonely when you are alone or surrounded by people. It is more of a feeling than situation. Some people are perfectly happy being alone and don’t feel lonely.  We live in a society where we are connected more than ever before through means like social media and yet, loneliness persists.  Some would argue we are lonelier now than ever before.  It feels terrible and can feel hopeless to defeat, however, there are ways to combat it.

1. Self Talk.

Be kind with the things you tell yourself.  This is one of the reasons some people are okay being alone and some people are not.  It is not your situation, but what you tell yourself about the situation that causes you to feel an emotion.  This does not mean to lie to yourself.  It means be honest and realistic.  If you tell yourself negative things like…

“I can’t be alone.” 

“Nobody likes me.”

“I am a loser.”

You will feel bad.  Thoughts like…

“I can tolerate being alone and find a way to make it pleasant.”

“There are bound to be SOME people that like me. Besides, it is more important that I like me”

 “Just because I feel alone, does not make me a loser.  It is a normal human emotion.”

You will feel better and it gives you a better, more realistic perspective on your situation.

2. Love Yourself

In my experience, people who feel lonely, don’t like themselves very much.  It is almost as if they have convinced themselves that everyone has figured out what they already knew: that they aren’t worth it.  They find their value and worth in other people’s opinions of them, rather than knowing intrinsically that they are valuable and worthy.  Accepting, loving and being compassionate to yourself can help overcome feelings of loneliness.  Once you realize that your worth and value is independent of other people’s thoughts and opinions about you, you will feel less alone.

3. Reach Out To Who You Know

Are you waiting for people to come to you? If so, stop.  Reach out to people that you have enjoyed spending time with and reconnect.  Do it even if it has been a long time.  Don’t buy into thinking that if they want to spend time with you they would call you.  People have lots of reasons they don’t reach out to you try not to take it personal.  Worst case scenario, they say no and you can ask someone else.

4. Get a hobby

One reason that people can feel alone while around other people is that they don’t feel a connection with the people that are around, if there even are any.  Finding a hobby that you enjoy can help. A hobby can help keep your mind occupied and busy, which can help stop you from focusing on feeling alone.  Plus, it can help you meet people that have similar interests, which can help you feel more connected.

5. Mood Boosters

It may be difficult to say which came first, feeling down because you are lonely or feeling lonely because you are down.  In any case, if you are feeling lonely, it may be in your interest to get checked for depression or other mental health disorders.  There are many different ways to treat a low mood, from medication to therapy to self-care and exercise.  Doing things that will boost your mood will benefit you whether you are lonely because your mood is low or your mood is low because you are lonely.

10 Answers to: "What Is The Difference Between Counseling And Coaching?"

This is a very tricky question.  Many coaches have a difficult time explaining what it is exactly that they do.  It is something you have to experience to really be able to comprehend how powerful and transformational it can be.  Counseling, is a bit more familiar to people because it is more main stream.  They have many similarities and yet, are vastly different!  Ever since I decided to add coaching to my practice, people have been asking me why.  I decided to take on the challenge of explaining the difference below.

1.  Mental Illness.

Counselors can treat mental illness.  You don’t HAVE to have a mental illness to work with a counselor (although that is usually the only way health insurance will pay).  Counselors are trained and qualified to diagnose and treat mental illness with various techniques.  Coaches are NOT.  Counselors can work with people that are suicidal, have depression, PTSD etc.  Counselors may have you talk in depth about your past or a trauma, to sort it out and have you work through it and face it.  Coaches only look to see how that trauma may be stopping you from moving forward to reach your goals.  For example, to change the fear and mindset issues that have developed because of it and how to move forward, rather than focus on the past.

2. Licensing.

Counselors must be licensed.  To get my license in Texas, I had to get a Master’s degree, pass a test and get 3000 hours of practice, while being supervised by a fully licensed professional counselor supervisor, and we met weekly to discuss cases.  We have strict guidelines we have to follow, must obtain a certain number of hours of continuing education every year and renew our license every 2 years.  Coaches are not required to have any kind of certification.  Coaching is currently unregulated.  This means anyone can call themselves a coach.  There are some certification programs available to learn how to coach, but it is not required for you to be a coach.

3.  Geographic area of practice.

Counselors can only counsel people in the state they are licensed in.  Since I am licensed in Texas, I can only see people in my office in Texas or people that are Texas residents, if doing long distance counseling.  Coaches can see anyone, anywhere in the world.

4.  Dual Relationships.

Counselors have strict ethical guidelines about not providing counseling services to people they already have a relationship with.  In other words, counselors can’t counsel family members, friends, coworkers etc.  They can’t have a dual relationship of counseling client and anything else.  Coaches can coach whoever they want!

5. Confidentiality.

Counselors are held to the same confidentiality requirements as other medical professionals with HIPPA.  Coaching is confidential, but not held to HIPPA standards.  This makes communication a bit different.  For example, counselors can only use technology that is HIPPA compliant. 

6. Documentation.

Both will want a good amount of information about you before providing services.  You will be required to sign paperwork for both, which lays out boundaries and expectations ahead of time.  Counselors have to keep extensive records on their clients, including notes about sessions, for several years.  Coaches don’t. 

7.  The Relationship.

The counseling relationship is a professional one. It is similar to the doctor/patient relationship. Coaching is more of a co-creative, collaborative partnership. While it is professional, it is a more casual and friendly relationship compared to counseling. For example, counselors are discouraged from talking about themselves for many reasons, including because it blurs the boundary between counselor and friend.  Remember, how I said earlier that it is unethical for a counselor to have a dual relationship with their client? Coaches are encouraged to share their own story, so clients can get know them and pick the coach they feel will be the best fit.

8.  Health Insurance.

Counseling is covered by health insurance when you have a diagnosed medical condition, likeMajor Depressive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder or Post Traumatic Stress DisorderCoaching is never covered by health insurance.

9.  How it works.

Both help you overcome problems. Both counselor and coach are good listeners and the clients will be doing the majority of the talking in each situation.  Neither will command you to do anything.  Neither will tell you what to do.  Both will offer different ways to look at your situation and challenge your perceptions to help you fully evaluate your options, but it is up to you to decide what you will do.  A counselor will give a diagnosis, share their expertise, and give the client guidelines for the path towards healing.  A coach works with you, helps identify problems, works with you to overcome challenges and holds you accountable in meeting your chosen goals.

10.  Where it gets tricky.

While a person can be both a counselor and coach, you can’t see the same person for both counseling AND coaching.  For example, if you have been a counseling client with me, you can’t be coached by me unless 3 years have passed since our last session.  Once you work with me as a coach, you can never go back to seeing me as a counselor and should the need for a counselor arise, you will be referred to another counselor for therapy.

There are benefits to both counseling and coaching.  Many of which have to be experienced to fully understand.  If you are still confused if you should seek counseling or coaching, feel free to contact us for a free consult!