We humans run the gamut from avoiding change and fleeing from change, to wanting to change but not knowing how to change. As a result our bad habits stick to us like white on Republicans (to quote Stephen Colbert).
In therapy, we learn to embrace change. We learn to face ourselves, take an objective look at our strengths and weaknesses – and decide what needs to change.
Below are the top five reasons why people came to therapy this year in my practice, and what the game plan was for change:
1) Marital: Husbands had to learn to be less bossy and give into their wives more. Wives learned to be less emotional and more concrete. In healthy marriages, men become more like women, and women become more like men. It’s called balance.
And that goes for personality types in marriages too. Extroverts become more sensitive and introspective; introverts learn to face challenges and stand up for themselves (in a healthy way).
Sadly, sometimes we couldn’t save the marriage. If that’s the case, then the next change became divorce with harmony.
2) Depression: The white bread of therapy – not good for you, but served everywhere. The change? Recognize the problem, agree to be all in, whatever it takes to fix it – whether it’s physiological, emotional, mental, or spiritual.
3) Anxiety: If depression is white bread, anxiety is peanut butter and jelly. Ubiquitous. Sometimes the change was accepting medication, sometimes getting control of thoughts, sometimes changing jobs, sometimes facing fears.
4) Dependency, aka, Dependent Personality Disorder: Recognizing that you love too much, care too much, and give too much; and learning how to be independent, and self sufficient. Like the rest, not easy habits to break. But oh the rewards!
5) Borderline Personality Disorder, aka, super duper emotional dysregulation: Lots of borderlines this year. Can be challenging but under the right conditions, has a good success rate in therapy. The key change, from one of my borderline patients: “Recognize you’ve been doing everything ass-backwards your whole life. Vow to turn that around.”
Change! Embrace it!