“Driving with the brakes on,” is a rather lovely metaphor therapist Fred J. Hanna uses to describe individuals who would love to talk about their issues all day, but do not feel inclined to actively make any modifications. I love this illustration because it defines one of the principle difficulties most individuals face at one time or another.
When you’re a new therapist, the client you hope for the most is the one who has a good deal of awareness about his or her issues and complaints. You love the individuals who present with beautifully-worded monologues about how these maladies have managed to hold them back. That is, until you realize that with many of those people the buck stops there. These are the daydreaming uber-clients who don’t really want to develop an ability to tolerate change. They just want to editorialize about it. In fact, therapy in the past may have been about endlessly analyzing the reasons for the trouble without making any concrete steps to forge a better life. We therapists can unwittingly reward this kind of perceptive client for standing still. It’s like watching a carefully-planted garden wither and die when you’re standing right there with the watering hose. I believe that it’s that delicious moment of understanding paired with your own sense of agency that makes life really hum.
Make no mistake; sometimes, it makes good sense not to change. Life may be uncomfortable, but at least stable. You may have attached some piece of your identity to the issue that has gotten you under its thumb. Or, maybe you’re just scared. So, I challenge you to really take a look at your own self-work. Are you taking advantage of that big engine or driving with the brakes on?
Your Partner in Healing, Holly
If you would like to scheudle and appointment or a free, 15-minute phone consultation please call 407.913.4988 or email email@example.com