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New Perspectives Make a Difference

20090705-IMG_9331Recently I heard a talk radio program where the host said (in reference to what, I cannot remember), “This is not like psychotherapy where they are trying to fix you…” I couldn’t hear the rest because I was in total shock. I knew this point of view existed, but I had never heard it said so succinctly: psychotherapists try to fix people. I could only think in little sound bites: Wait. Time out. FALSE.

It took me a couple of weeks to recover and process. So now let me say in response that I’m not interested in fixing anyone. I don’t believe anyone is broken. At the heart of it, I actually think most people fear they are broken, but are not. It’s this fear that creates a lot of problems.

As a therapist, I do not try to fix things or people. I try to normalize the human experience. I help in another way key way, too: unearthing options that have been previously undiscovered.

It’s a bit difficult to convince people that they haven’t thought of all the possible ways to deal with a thought, feeling, relationship, or situation. But you haven’t. I haven’t. It’s a big problem because people think, “What’s a therapist going to tell me that I don’t already know?” My response is actually, “Quite a bit.”

As a therapist, I’m really just a creative, collaborative generator of possible choices. I listen, reflect, try to make sure I get what’s being said. Then through dialogue and questions, I help find more options than previously considered. Some ideas I bring up, some come up from clients just by talking in a new way about their situation.

It’s not because I’m all awesomely creative that I come up with ideas. It’s really because I talk with a lot of people in a deep and meaningful way all day. I’ve started to hear about lots of ways of doing things. I also try to read and collect ideas from a broad range of sources. I’m excited everyday to learn something new and to figure out how I might apply it to my work.

Out of this desire to collect new viewpoints, I’m starting a guest post series on this blog. I’ve met some very talented people who have interesting things to say about the world of health, wellness, and being human from their own unique perspectives. I’ve asked them to share here on this blog.

Last week, I featured a beautifully-done piece by Portland, Maine writer and musician James Day Leavitt. In the weeks to come I have a great line up for you:

Aaron Bilodeau, co-creator of www.existanew.com, a project that challenges conventional notions on how to foster health, live, and be happy.

Dawn Clancy, creator of Growing Up Chaotic, a blog and radio program for those determined to SURVIVE and THRIVE despite growing up in toxicity – i.e. a childhood immersed in alcohol, drugs and physical, emotional or mental abuse. Her goal? Create a community hell bent on breaking, cracking and demolishing the cycle of dysfunction.

Lynn Shattuck, Portland, Maine writer and mother of two recently featured on Love for Lemons. She writes warm, touching, and often humorous pieces on topics such as perfectionism, parenting, and grief.

I hope you will read, share, and comment. The more we talk together, the more ideas are shared, the more options we see in our world, the easier it is to make choices that work for our own lives.

POSTED: 13 May, 2013

TAGS: authenticity , change process , counseling , life transitions , mental health , perspectives , psychotherapy , therapy , wellness

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10 responses to “New Perspectives Make a Difference”

  1. […] from Hannah: This the first in a series of guest posts with the goal of providing new perspectives to mental health, wellness, and being a human. This piece is written by Aaron Bilodeau, co-founder […]

  2. I’m so excited for this series! It will be great to hear everyone’s perspective.

  3. […] Note from Hannah: This piece is a guest post by Lynn Shattuck as part of the New Perspectives Series. […]

  4. […] from Hannah: This is the latest installment from the New Perspectives Series. This post was contributed by Dawn Clancy (and do yourself a favor and check out her blog and radio […]

  5. […] you been following along with the New Perspectives Series? I know many of you are enjoying it since my readership has nearly doubled since featuring this […]

  6. […] from Hannah: This is a guest post by Emily Caswell as part of the popular New Perspectives Series featured on this blog. The goal of this series is to shed new light on mental health, wellness, and […]

  7. […] pleased to feature this guest post by Jennifer Barbour of anotherjennifer.com as part of the New Perspectives Series on mental health, wellness, and just being a human. […]

  8. […] post is the latest addition to the popular New Perspectives Series. The goal of the series is to shed new light on mental health, wellness, and just being a human […]

  9. […] this post). I asked Rudy to talk about his work with Dominant Emotional States as part of the the New Perspectives Series. Rudy’s letter back to us illustrates the deep and profound work that can be done when you […]

  10. […] from Hannah: This is a guest post by Portland therapist, Bonnie Dunn, LCSW. It’s part of the New Perspectives series where writers give us their take on emotional wellness and the human […]

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