Resilience! A Psychotherapist’s Newsletter

WELCOME to my new blog!  I am excited to share my thoughts with you.  I invite your comments.  Resilience is the name of my blog letter. I am a psychotherapist and I will be writing on various topics that relate to relationships and well being. I  am originally trained as a Gestalt Therapist and I incorporate other modalities into my work with clients. Future blogs will frequently be in the form of a Dear M letter. Today however, I begin with my own experience and my perspective on how counselling works to build resilience.

A PSYCHOTHERAPISTS SELF DISCLOSURE    I work with individuals, couples and families on all matters of relationships, and personal stuckness.   I chose Resilience as my blog title; there is a reason for that.  I get stuck too!

WHAT IS RESILIENCE?   A dictionary definition of Resilience  is an ability to recover from or adjust to change – particularly setbacks or misfortune.  I am so encouraged by the resilience of the human spirit.   I see all forms of “spiritual bounceability” in my clients. There are universal qualities to the human experience so  I  look to my professional training and my own experience as a way of offering  insight into how to support others in their struggles…  I look at my own capacity for bouncing back each day and for breaking the cycle of giving up… and essentially renewing myself.

FROM TRUDGING TO LEAPING – COMING ALIVE    I must have some elasticity in my soul;  perhaps it is my basic survival instinct.   Being stuck in one’s impasse can be confusing and terribly uncomfortable however it is often necessary in order to leap into the next moment of your life.   I am learning what nourishes and motivates me when I feel low or discouraged and I am continually surprised at how support and encouragement from others actually works. Sometimes I  forget to ask for it and  can be quietly cynical about its possibilities and surprised by its positive impact.  It is remarkable how in an instant, receiving compassionate and effective support from others can lift us from the mud to the sparkling waters of the soul.

RECOVERY – GETTING IN AND OUT OF YOUR OWN WAY   What I call my own kick-in-the-pants is my existential awareness of “it’s ultimately just me”  who will make my life work.  Damn, that gets me every time!  I have a pattern of stuckness and of recovery. We all do.  We establish neural pathways and get stuck with emotional patterning. The good news is that we can expand our awareness and create new neural pathways. This is what recovery is about.  If the stuck patterns are overwhelming, we can benefit from working with a professional counsellor/coach to explore  how we get in our way  and how we can get out of our own way more easily –  and feel more authentic and alive.

WHAT CAN HAPPEN IN COUNSELING TO STRENGTHEN RESILIENCE   A counselling session is an opportunity to reshape your life, to see it differently, to see the possibilities and experiment with them and ultimately to create space for positive change.  As I do for myself,  I see resilience in clients especially when they contact their feelings,    gain perspective,  play with creative and new approaches to familiar situations, make different choices and practice self acceptance.

GIVING UP ON GIVING UP   Essentially  the resilience factor of well being comes from strengthening  your internal self support and reaching out for support. Being open to and giving up on giving up allows for something new to happen. There is a paradoxical theory of change that kicks in too.  If you invite your feelings such as  despair, anger, sadness, hopelessness or powerlessness into your “home” ( metaphorically speaking)  and sit with whatever you are stuck with – your  feelings will shift.  They may intensify (which can create clarity); they may lighten or disappear. They will certainly change.  Whatever occurs, you will feel more alive.  I wish to  share this wonderful poem by Rumi which offers great wisdom:

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.