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  • Writer's pictureTracy Rappold

What to do when change isn't happening

Updated: Apr 16

Self-help literature is out there and can provide quick and easy interventions. These books can also be very inspiring and help you recognize that you are not alone.

The current wisdom surrounding self-care:

1. Trauma is stored in the body

2. Self-love is crucial

3. Flexibility to change is also crucial

4. Stop Overthinking

5. Master Emotions

Even with all this information available, clients tell me, change seems to be out of reach. I continue to get the question “If I know this, why isn’t change happening?” Why haven't clients been able to deal with their problems on their own?

The short answer is resistance. Maybe, resistance is towards having a close relationship towards the therapist and as a result being unable to accept the interventions your therapist is suggesting. Therapy is more than techniques; it is a relationship. Many of us have difficulties in relationships and the therapeutic relationship is not an exception. Some of us withdraw and detach from the opportunity for closeness. Being resistant to closeness with our therapist, however, can make the process doomed to fail. Then nothing changes.

In addition, there is good old-fashioned fear. Fear of the feelings that are thought of as negative like: resentment, anger, shame, jealousy, dislike and/or annoyance. Even the fear of the positive feelings like: tenderness, admiration, love, and/or joy.

When I begin my work with a client who has struggled to create lasting change, I start by first finding out what caused the problem. Next I work on helping them find out what maintains the problem. Together, client and therapist find out a good solution to this problem.

What is the pain that you are feeling inside? What kinds of things are you doing to get away from that pain? Can we find a way that is healthier than constantly looking away from the pain.

Initially your defenses (like resistance) are there because they are trying to protect you from suffering. However, defenses create problems and even your symptoms. If you can see how your defenses create your problems, you will want to turn against them and hopefully face your feelings instead.

The things you learn in psychotherapy - the benefits tend to show up outside psychotherapy in your life. Holistic therapy also considers the positive psychology of things, like gratitude, optimism, and hopefulness. This is a therapy that aims for people to have a good quality of life.


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