Everyone gets stuck sometimes and needs a little help. Some help moves you forward. Some just moves you into different surrounding without real change. Some "help" can even move you backwards. From psychotherapist to life transformation facilitator, I have worked with many people over the past 20 years. Some people experienced disappointments and setbacks from the help they sought earlier creating trepidation about looking for guidance. When trust is broken through a bad "therapeutic" experience, become objective and use some logical tools to find the right assistance. Life is about working with each other -- both giving and receiving support. We need to learn to trust -- with discernment -- again.
If you are hesitant to seek help with issues beyond your ability to tackle on your own, first realize that "normal" means that we need support from one another. Confront false concepts that isolate you and keep you from getting assistance. For example, independence is not natural; we are interdependent. When people speak of "independence" they are often talking about "being in control," which may be a reaction from feeling victim to someone else's command. Responsibly choosing to use information and advice empowers a person to make wise decisions. Similarly, needing help is misconceived as being weak. Greater strength exists in collaborations of many opposed to lone individuals. You strengthen both yourself and those who work with you when you join forces to face challenges.
As you dare to approach collaborating with a counselor, coach or therapist, realize that in any profession there are varying degrees of ability and areas of focus. First, recognize the lessons gained from your experience as you reflect on pointers to help discern an appropriate support for you. While education and accreditation gives some indication of a professional's ability to assist you, there are some guidelines to choosing the assistance that can facilitate your greater successes. Start from your knowledge of yourself.
1) Determine what type of help you need.
Perhaps you need motivation to get a job -- then choose a career coach. If you have troubles in your marriage, choose a marriage counselor. Sometimes you feel generally down and want to make a change in your life, and are confused. In the time of confusion reach out to someone that you have had a history of trust with. For example, you may want to speak to your family doctor to get help in choosing the right type of helping professional.
2) Observe the life of the professional.
A person can only give what they have. If you are looking for balance and peace in life, find someone who has balance and peace in their lives. A minister, therapist, coach, life transformation facilitator or friend can fill this role.
Be aware not to confuse "bubbly," charismatic and charming as being balanced and at peace. There are many good sales persons who are good at talking you into believing that they are what you need. Preferably get a recommendation from someone you trust who can give you a testimony of how they transformed his or her life through working with the helping professional.
My first psychiatric supervisor told me that he never trusted a charming person. Years later I understood that "charm" sucks you into the person. A truly helping professional may seem boring or even "difficult," yet keeps the focus on what is helpful to you.
3) Have a goal.
You may know what you want to achieve, or your objective may be to determine an aspiration. Your counselor and you should agree on the goal. Then measure the success of your work by progress to that end. Without a goal, the relationship can diverge into many areas and you may be investing resources with little movement forward.
4) Limit the time.
Getting unstuck is a finite process. You may get stuck again sometime, yet celebrate the accomplishment of your current success and takes steps on your own for a while. Also, being on the receiving end of help with the same person for too long becomes a dependency. A good professional will empower you, and support you to move on.
5) Know who is the driver.
Your change initiates from you. You may seek a professional to help you, yet you are the pilot and the counselor is the copilot. You guide the work, while your supporter uses his or her training and skills to jump-start or turbo boost your own efforts. Keep aware that you are in the driver's seat.
Most important is to remember that ultimately, you make the change within yourself -- you get the credit.
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