As we welcome in 2015, it made sense to stress a tool I use in my own life. Ancient philosophers – predating even Aristotle and Plato – contemplated the self. If we have been trying to understand the psyche for thousands of years now, to assume that a therapist has ‘it all figured it out’ or worse, for those of us who work in this profession to presume such, is more than hubris – it is humorous.
The tools that make psychotherapy work – reflection, perspective, some add accountability, empathy and – at least in my case – laughter – to name a few don’t stem from knowing how life works, but through our own growth and understanding of patterns and how some folks apply them. Simply then, counseling is a shared journey, a unique partnership where parting ways becomes the end goal.
I talk a lot about action instead of thought: it is one thing to think a thought, another to write it down, take a physical step forward towards a stated goal. The talking and thinking part is what happens in session, the doing part – the important part – happens in the world the client is part of. In my own case, I spent the better part of this first morning in the New Year redoing my vision board.
My hopes for my children are on there, my professional and personal goals, my wishes for my partner and her business successes too. Little icons representing my home (for the backyard project we hope to tackle this year) and the licensures I need are there, and a sweet card my partner gave me recently is tacked on for a splash of color. This board changes often through a year: reached goals get colorful check marks and later erased, new goals get penned in. A vision board isn’t static, more a representation of hopes as they evolve.
As 2015 settles in, maybe a vision board will find its way on to your wall – marking the journey, sharing the successes with that one individual who most needs recognition for all you do: you.