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Resolution, Revolution & Counselling

Blog Entries

The decision to make some New Year resolutions has a very familiar ring. Many of us may decide around this time in January that this is going to be the New Year when things are will be different.  2013 is to be the year when….and it is then just a case of filling in the details to suit each individual situation!

For some, the desired change may be the cessation of a awkward habit, from smoking to excess eating or to limiting the hours spent on Facebook: whereas for others the resolution might be to start a new initiative, perhaps taking more exercise or actually contacting that long lost friend.

It may be however that for the ambitious few, the New Year will be a time for fundamental change and for revolution rather than resolution. If there is a sense of disillusionment with life as it is or if there is a concern around potential not fulfilled and of opportunities slipping away through lack of motivation, some may be hovering on the edge of insurrection and contemplating outright revolution in their life.  Enough is enough and the time for major change is now.

Andrew Marvell suggests in the conclusion to his evocative poem ‘To his coy mistress’ that we should;

             ‘....let us roll all our strength and all

              our sweetness up into one ball

              and tear pleasures with rough strife 

              through the gates of life

              thus, though we cannot make our sun

              stand still, yet we can make him run’

 Although that suggestive piece of writing may be focussed on seduction rather than on more general motivation, his call to action rather than perpetual delay is still one which we can embrace whatever the specific driver behind our desire for change.

Perhaps for some people, resolutions may be easier and safer to follow than revolution. Nevertheless whichever approach is being considered, there are likely to be challenges ahead. Whenever we are trying to make changes and break habits or develop positive new practices, some additional support may be useful particularly when the going gets tough.   If someone else is aware of what we are trying to do, her or his support and encouragement can help to sustain us when our fervour for the change slips or when unexpected obstacles arise and our resolve weakens.

Many people may find it easy to talk with friends, partners or colleagues about the changes they wish to make. Sometimes however that may not be possible particularly if there is concern about how that individual may react or if the listener no matter how good a friend, simply does not understand.  In those circumstances it may be useful to consider talking with someone outside of our usual network.

Counsellors and therapists can provide that support. The common expectation of therapy is that this is something to turn to when individuals are struggling with some difficult emotional challenges. A therapist or counsellor can however also be a useful person to sit alongside you when things may be going well but when a new course in life is being plotted.

If the relationship is right, the therapist may be able to help you to look honestly at your reasons for pursuing change. The counsellor may also enable you to appreciate why there are those doubts and concerns over a proposed change. On some occasions it can just be helpful to have someone there who is firmly on your side and can mirror back to you those concerns you are holding and which it may be difficult to voice out loud.

Sometimes that support can be more active. There may be occasions when the therapist can work with a client by using techniques such as those often found in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) or Solution Focussed Therapy which may to help to find a way forward and encourage ideas to become action. 

There may also be occasions when those who are seeking a sense of profound emotional freedom, may want to look deep down into their emotional life. There may be a need to make sense of that drive for fundamental change irrespective of the challenges that new life will bring – and some of the more reflective therapies such as psychodynamic work can facilitate that process of introspection.

Whatever the approach the New Year can be a time to look ahead with optimism. What needs to change can be changed – and whether that is through your own resolve or with the help of a friend or through the support of a counsellor or therapist, it can happen.

So consider again that potential resolution or revolution. Think about what and why and when – and then just go for it.  This New Year can be your time for change.



Geoff Boutle

added on 1st January 2013

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