Counselling, change and a new beginning
Talk of change, a new year and a fresh start is usually associated with early January. Yet increasingly the end of summer now appears as a good time to begin a new phase in life. As the holiday season comes to an end there is an opportunity to look afresh at the pattern of life and to consider bringing in change. That change can involve career, relationships, personal life or even just a reworking of that critical internal dialogue of discontent with the status quo.
So why think of making change now? Perhaps for much of this year there has been that well honed excuse of putting things off until after the summer holiday. ’Let’s wait until we get back after the summer break. Why not hold off until her exam results are in. Let’s think about it once he has started university. Perhaps we should delay a decision until you have returned to work and we can see how things are then.’ The reality is of course that things will probably be very much as they were before the start of the holiday!
Nevertheless these reasons to procrastinate can be convincing. There are some very good explanations as to why it is seems to be sensible to wait, to delay and to hold off. But eventually time passes. Those justifications start to slip away. Holiday time ends and September beckons. It is back to Chichester and West Sussex rather than Spain and France. Suddenly those well thought out reasons (or were they just excuses?) have come and gone. Now it really is the time to decide what to do.
It is of course much easier to just talk about making changes than to actually start the process. Perhaps that is not too surprising. Change is often challenging. And challenging yourself or others to do something different is demanding and sometimes risky. The status quo has the attraction of the known. It can seem safer to stay with what is familiar rather than take that first step into the new world of tomorrow. But if tomorrow is to be different then some action is needed today.
So what can provide that push for action? Or perhaps it is more a case of ‘who’. The obvious people to turn to for help are those closest to us. Partners, parents, lovers or friends are people who know us well. Surely they can be trusted even with some of this personal intimate stuff.
To talk with someone from that inner circle will usually be the first move to consider and for obvious reasons. Yet on some occasions it may be necessary to look beyond that group. Members of that inner circle will already know you well. Each will have formed a view which will be fashioned by their experiences of you. They are likely to already have set ideas and opinions on what is right for you. Some may listen carefully and be a good sounding board but others may have already decided on what be your next step should be even before you have finished talking.
There is also that nagging concern about just how much to reveal as these friends and colleagues are an integral part of your life. If you do talk openly about the affair, the attraction, the loneliness and the fantasy of that possible future plan can you be completely sure that those crucial boundaries of trust and confidentiality will always hold? That situation can become even more complex if the main actors in your narrative are already known to your confidant.
Is there an alternative? The response is a definite yes. There are many different ways in which this active reflection, that important ‘thinking out loud’ can be completed. Those options range from private structured self-talk through to spending time with a counsellor or therapist.
Accredited experienced counsellors can listen, support and encourage but will not rush to judgement. An experienced therapist will not tell you what you ought to do or what you must do. Instead an effective counsellor can help you to decide what you want to.
Whether that therapeutic option is the right one for you to choose is something that you alone should decide. But alternative courses of action are out there. Now. And at the very start of autumn.
This is a time to pause, to reflect and to decide. Is this September to be just another unsatisfactory return to what already exists? Alternatively is it time to go forward and begin that process of renewal and change?