It is such a common thing for clients to be focused on their problems. In fact, it is often their ‘distress’ with the impact that their problem is having on their life that brings them into clinic.
They feel ‘stuck’, helpless or hopeless. They perhaps know how they want to be, which is different to how they are right now.
[does this sound familiar to you?]
This difference serves as a constant (and often painful) reminder of their problem. And as they focus on it, they amplify it.
So in clinic, it is both important to recognise what clients are experiencing – because it is such a large part of their thinking, feelings and behaviours – and to help them see that they are so much more than their problem.
Let’s do a little exercise: Take your hand, and place it about 10 cm in from of your face, in front of your eyes. What can you see? Now drop your hand to about 30 cm out from your chest – what do you notice now?
Most people see all the fine details of their hand, and cannot really see anything else because the hand is completely in the way. When they drop their hand, they can still see it in the corner of their vision, but they can now see everything else. This is what we do with our ‘problems’.
We are so focused on the fine details of our ‘problem’ that we sometimes forget that as we focus on it, it stops us seeing so much else. Because you are not your ‘problem’ but rather you are much more than that, and the problem represents only part of your experience. Allowing ourselves to see what else is there can be the start of allowing us to find the strengths, skills and resources that can help us achieve change.
This is important in helping clients – getting people to realise that they are more than their problem is important, and then helping them identify positive values and strengths which they have forgotten to remember can be the basis of massive personal shifts.
People often overlook their tenacity, their persistence, their ability to cope, their capacity for tolerance, their ability to learn, their ability to dissociate, their ability to compartmentalise, their ability to explain, to remember, to forget….
Every person has so many skills and strengths that can be identified – and brought to bear on solving or moving beyond the problem.
As we allow ourselves to recognise our strengths, and find creative ways to use them to manoeuvre beyond our problem to newer, more helpful ways of thinking, feeling, behaving and experiencing, the problem no longer is the same problem.
Regardless of your circumstance, you have strengths, skills and capabilities. Can you identify yours?
If you were to imagine how these could be applied to your problem, what do you discover?
The solution is often not in the problem, but in your strengths.
If you want more information or to organise a session to uncover your strengths and apply them differently in your life, contact me now.