Virtually all counseling clients start at this level. You are in crisis, at a low point, depressed or anxious. My focus here is an immediate and practical prescription for helping you regain hope and basic functioning. This most often includes health issues such as exercise and rest, as well as releasing pain out of the body by relaxation and journaling.
At this stage you move on to the relationships around you as a focus for change. You are ready to see how you help create the painful patterns in your own life, and you go out into the world as a scientist, observing your patterns with others. You begin to see how you contribute to your own problems by the thinking habits you’ve formed.
Too many clients leave therapy at this stage. The pain is eased—why go deeper? The problem with stopping here is that the fundamental issues and reactions have not been changed yet. It’s like stopping an antibiotic on the second day because you feel better—the basic “infection” has not been eradicated, and will resurface in time.
A client who “stays the course” to this stage begins to reap the deeply satisfying rewards of enjoyment and contentment in life. Persistent body aches, migraines, rashes and recurring illnesses often ease or disappear entirely as the client ceases to be at war within and therefore has the energy to heal.
Once the bothersome thinking patterns are uncovered and corrected, the client has found peace in their personal boundaries and dealings with others. The “coaching” side of my work now begins. I help the client explore what they want their legacy to be in life, how to live with integrity regardless of circumstance, and dream for the future by exploring goals.