I remember the first time I met Jana*. She sat down in my office, flustered and out of sorts. She was perspiring from nervousness and was giving off an agitated vibe. She had arrived a few minutes late to the appointment and I could feel her anxiety. I sat there calmly, taking a few deep breaths as she drank some water and settled in. I reassured her that we had plenty of time to talk about what brought her to counseling, and to see if I would be a good fit for her counseling needs. Jana was feeling unsettled because she wasn’t completely sure if therapy was what she needed and she wondered out loud if what she actually needed was a good kick in the pants!
*this is not an actual client but rather a vignette to include many of the types of personalities that I see in individual therapy
As she settled in, we began talking about the things that had felt out of balance and unmanageable for the last several years. She had difficulty communicating with her husband, she felt out of place and insecure in the community groups she was a part of, and she always felt like things were her fault when people were uncomfortable or upset. And on top of all of this, she was feeling completely overwhelmed with her job, to the point that she was procrastinating and nearly shut down. She explained that these things had been happening for as long as she could remember and felt that people really didn’t “get her.”
After getting an idea of her goals for individual therapy, we decided to start with weekly sessions and then go to bi-weekly, then monthly for as long as she needed the support to find balance in her life and stop feeling so paralyzed in life.
Although this story is not unique to any one client, it does describe many of the clients I see for individual therapy. I see parents who are feeling overwhelmed in their parenting, children and teens feeling overwhelmed and misunderstood by their parents and peers, individuals feeling overwhelmed by their home and work lives.
One of the very first things I do when people come to see me for individual therapy is to identify what their goals are for counseling. Sometimes individuals have no idea where to start with their goals. What they do know, is that they are unhappy, anxious or depressed and they have already tried many things to help. I sit with parents, children, teens and individuals and help them figure out what’s not working and how I can help.
If you’re not sure if therapy is the best next step for therapy for you or a loved one, it might help to answer the following questions. Take 2-3 minutes to answer each question, don’t spend a lot of time on each, you’ll be surprised at how much you can write out in just 3 minutes!
List specific areas that you know are not working for you. Think of your home, work, sleep, health, children, school, etc.
If you could change the channel on your life, what would you be seeing that would be different and better.
What are the barriers that are stopping you from achieving the things on the new channel?
The answers to these questions should serve as a starting point for creating more balance and less overwhelm. As I have stated in previous posts, I don’t believe in “eating the elephant in one bite.” Instead, identify one area that you could work to change, focus on implementing that change for 15 minutes a day and focus on that for 2 weeks or a month. If you still find that you’re feeling overwhelmed, it may be time to find a therapist to help you uncover whether or not there might be something deeper at work or you might have a blind spot in why things aren’t changing or getting better.
Many of the highly sensitive client’s I work with struggle with knowing where to start. All of the things they write down will seem important and need attention. One of the struggles of many highly sensitive people is their ability to see the big picture and the details at the same time and both seem valuable! At that point, it might be helpful to make an appointment with a therapist so they can help you figure out a starting point that makes the most sense.
I hope this helps you find the answer to questions you may have about how to find more balance and less overwhelm. If you’re still feeling uneasy about this process, please feel
free to contact me at 317.496.0456 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d be
happy to hear what is happening and help you find the right fit for counseling. If you
are looking for help with depression, anxiety, trauma or behavioral concerns, you
can read more about how I can help at my website peacefamilycounseling.