a counselor's tips for living life

Tuesday, September 21, 2010
T asked that i give my perspective as new counselor on how one can get the most out of life, or at least that's how i interpretted it. here we go. im giving brief rundowns of whatever concepts come to mind so if clarification is needed, leave me a comment. also, i should say these are my opinions and interpretations of material covered in my master's program and not necessarily that of my master's program/instructors. this is pretty broad so i welcome specific questions. i'll try to keep this short.

1. remember there is no set formula: people come from all kinds of home situations. people from backgrounds you could not imagine go on to be wildly successful, something we discuss and term "resilience". others, from intact families can be the world's biggest fuck ups. dwelling on the cards you were dealt is one of some people's biggest hinderances.

2. strive for balance: i guess i'll stick to the family example. there are over-involved, high expressing of emotion or "enmeshed" families (you love how i'm giving you counselor terms that are regular words you can use everyday). then, there are distant families. again, great people can come from either but for best results, it appears that those who come from families with instilled values but respect for difference fair better than most other family types.

3. look for patterns: most often we see patterns from our family of origin play out in every other aspect of our lives. for example, someone can treat their boss like their mother and their spouse like their child. you may not think the genogram your family therapist asks you to complete with him/her is the best use of your time but it's the best use of your therapist's time and will bring to light many things you never noticed or considered. it exposes patterns of mental and physical illness as well as relational patterns and opens up the conversation of where you might see the relationship between your mom and her estranged in your own life. once you recognize patterns, determine what they are doing for you or what purpose they are no longer serving and why they're a problem. then do something about them.

4. dysfuntional behavior was functional at some point: whatever is causing arguments between you and loved ones was once something you all needed to be happening. when something is no longer working, find out how your needs have changed. Is there a new addition to the family so you no longer need the now second youngest to be so needy to distract you from issues in your marriage? Is your previously unemployed boyfriend now getting job offers taking him away from the house and leaving you with no one to take care of, which you need to do because you've always taken care of SOMEONE in your life?

5. being a teenager sucks: that's really all i have to say. no, but seriously there are a lot of issues during this time because it's often considered the period of life marked with the most change. almost as difficult is "emerging adulthood" which is just an extension of adolescents that some researchers say extends into the 30s. the adolescent period of previous generations has been extended to account for further education and delays in starting families. for adolescents and emerging adults, the most helpful thing seems to be recognizing that one is not alone so talking about things is key. sounds easier than it is.

1 thought(s):

T said...

Thanks for this! AND for lacing it with fifty cent words like "genogram."