Integrity with Self – Showing Up!

Many people have integrity with their body but not with their mind.  We don’t realize that our mind and body are connected.  When you are dealing with stress at home, past trauma, work issues, this will lead to physical reactions.  When you heal your mind you will find you are less sick all the time.  You will be more happy in life, job, and relationships.  So why is it that people feel it is okay to not show up for therapy but they would never do that to their doctor? Why do others just disappear from therapy and not tell the therapist they would like to end therapy at the last session or call at least to say they won’t be returning?

This is because we don’t understand that mind/body are one because we can’t see it.  When you break a finger – its pretty obvious.  You aren’t going to sit around your house saying “Ill deal with it on my own.”  You certainly won’t have friends and family saying “You need to get over it.”

Yet when our mind is in an uncomfortable place due to stress at home, office, family, career, academia, etc… we might consider going to a therapist but not all of us will follow-through.  Unfortunately we are not psychotherapists and are not able to properly deal with these issues and it will only get worse.  Problems at home lead to problems in the workplace.  It leads to taking time off – mental health day or sick days.  That is when we are consciously trying to deal with it.  Other times our mental health issues lead to us getting fired “for no reason.” It can lead to us not getting promoted.  Some people go from job to job and find that they are never happy.  Yet, if you had dislocated your shoulder and were terminated from a job that involved lifting, you certainly wouldn’t question why it happened.  It is something that is tangible.

Mental health isn’t something we see, it is what we feel but no one else can see it or feel it and they often don’t believe us.  Society tells us “mental health is only for crazy people.” Our culture tells us “this is our families business no one else needs to know.”  But our friends, family, culture, society tells us these things because if you deal with your problems, they will have to deal with theirs.  A person who is in denial wants everyone else to be there with them.  Family secrets and lies being exposed will mean that someone else (the professional) knows their business.

On the other hand, psychotherapy does not work if you do not show up.  The answers will not be solved (or become clear to you) in one or two sessions.  If it is minor, then it will of course and you will say that to your therapist.  Yet most people who do not return have left the last session bewildered.  Sometimes clients have told me “It just wasn’t working for me,” when I ask what happened with their last therapist.  And this is true, if you don’t commit yourself to therapy, setting goals in therapy and creating a timeline for ending, it isn’t going to work.

I often ask clients who do stick around – “How will you know when therapy will be over?” Sometimes they have an idea – instincts will tell them.  Other times they aren’t sure yet – which is a good indication that we still have a lot of work to do. I wait to ask this question until we have worked together for at least ten sessions or more.  By this time, I have had a chance to get to know the client and they have a sense of my working style.  This goes the same for most professionals.

Clients who do stick around in therapy until the problem begins to be resolved for them, don’t call in sick so much.  They report positive outcomes in their life. Clients who don’t show up for sessions, don’t call, or are not consistent in therapy – continue to struggle in their daily lives. If your leg is broken and you don’t fix it, it will be hard to keep walking.  Likewise if you are having problems in your relationship and you don’t deal with it, you are still going to have problems in your relationship.

If you are in therapy and you don’t feel that it is “working” for you, discuss this with your therapist.  After all you have employed them to do a job for you – to listen and coach you.  It is your life, so if something they (therapist) have said that is bothering you tell them.  Maybe you misinterpreted what they meant.  It is also possible that they are just not a good match for you, though many times this is not the case.  Generally speaking the client is just afraid to tell the therapist the truth.  Maybe they are afraid to say they need to take a break from all this emotional stuff for awhile.  Or maybe they are afraid to say “I am not ready to deal with this.”

Meanwhile the therapy has ended with the therapist wondering what happened and the client continues to go about their life in chaos. It is important that we dedicate the same amount of integrity with our mind as we do with our body.  This means showing up for appointments and giving the same respect to your psychotherapist that you do to your doctor.  Giving that same respect to your mind that you do to your body. You owe it to your self.

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