Written by therapist Cotorey Seals

We all may have heard the phrase, “New year, new me.”

If you haven’t, it’s wrapped in the idea that when a new year starts, a new “me” will start my transformation journey. This phrase is connected to new year’s resolutions: “I will finally live a healthier lifestyle, I will finally write that book, and I will finally start therapy.” The desire and optimism are commendable. Unfortunately, statistics show that new gym users are more likely to give up on their new year’s resolutions as early as mid-January. The most common reason is a loss of motivation. I ponder why motivation is so fleeting, Maybe because it often starts with one’s desires and good intentions. To those that are successful in sticking to a plan, I am sure consistency and discipline play a role – emotions drive one, and day-to-day choices drive the other.

Why Therapy First 

Therapy may be the choice that unlocks the new you that you have always wished to see. It is on record that over 10 million Americans received psychotherapy in 2005, costing between $5.7 and $9.6 billion yearly.  With the aftermath covid, I could see that number being much higher today.  Counseling has proven itself to be helpful and effective in decreasing and treating depression, anxiety, marital dissatisfaction, substance abuse, and health problems.  All factors could be getting in the way of the new you one wishes to see.  Bruce E. Wampold states that those who receive psychotherapy achieve much better outcomes than they would have had they not received it.  It’s clear therapy works. Therapy works because therapists use evidence-based treatments to work with clients. EBT gives evidence to support its efficacy within the counseling room. EBT has been tried and tested, and proves to be effective.  

How It Works 

Imagine with me that the therapist is a personal trainer, and they’re meal prepping your food and creating workouts that fit your new year’s resolutions.  In understanding you and your goals, the personal trainer would establish a working relationship to pinpoint your goals and needs. This could include muscle gain or weight loss. I could guess the personal trainer would ask intimate questions to understand your habits and daily routines and your strengths and limitations to maximize his effects and help you reach your goals. The personal trainer would use this information to create a plan matching your desired outcome. In many ways, therapists do the same thing. 

A therapist establishes their relationship based on using interpersonal perception, acceptance, and empathy, to name a few.  In this process, the therapist establishes a working alliance to create a therapeutic partnership between the therapist and the client. This collaboration helps the therapist work with the client to set goals, build trust and give acceptable explanations for the client’s distress. The therapist then creates a  treatment plan consistent with the client’s core values and concerns. The treatment plan helps the therapist give the client healthy action steps to reach their desired goals.   Therapists are aware of the client’s characteristics and context, understanding the characteristics of a client makes up who they are.

What Next 

In this process, accountability will be established, and the therapist will kindly check on the client’s progress. Similarly to a personal trainer, the counselor addresses the client’s resistance to change by assessing what is working well and what may need to adjust. Difficult conversations may be had to pinpoint the client’s motivations toward their desired goals that were set in the beginning. The counselor is flexible in their approach, seeking to find the best options that work for the client and adjust therapy as needed. 

Where To Go From Here

The journey toward change is not based on a start date but should be based on support, accountability, and care. If you are looking to start something new this new year, consider therapy first.

A trusted counselor can support you by processing your emotions and goals in real-time as you work toward the new you you wish to see. Don’t hesitate to reach out and set up an appointment today!

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