We know that we are feeling stuck in our lives and we can’t seem to activate and change the course of our suffering. We know that we need some help to work through the issues that are holding us back from being all we can be in this life –and yet we resist. We find every excuse under the sun to avoid the necessary healing we seek. We have learnt stubborn resistance from youth. It has always been how we maintain our integrity in the face of authoritarian figures who attempted to control us as children and adolescents. We sometimes project these feelings onto a potential therapist. Resistance, when you are an adult, is just self-sabotage getting in the way of personal growth. Resistance to healing can take many forms…
Falling Asleep on Self Fulfilment
Intuitive healer, Carolyn Myss, speaks about an aspect of this phenomenon in her article “Three Popular Ways of Avoiding Powerful Guidance”, “I always try to observe when people turn off their attention span, because allowing yourself to be distracted, or falling asleep, often indicates an unconscious effort to avoid hearing content that holds the potential of personal empowerment”.
I once worked with someone, who, week after week would begin falling asleep at around half way through the session. One week, I decided to explore it with him, within the next few days he had a narcissistic defensive break and was threatening to kill me. We all have defenses, and we're willing to do whatever it takes to not explore whats behind them.
Sometimes clients are resistant to acknowledging the circumstances in their life that might lead to personal life changes that they can’t control once out in the open. Case in point. By admitting the problems out loud they will need to act and so they sometimes prefer to just blank out or block any form of self-reflection. Come to terms and face the pain that is within them. It takes much, much, much courage to face ones "issues."
What You Resist Persists
When clients have had invasive controlling parents, experience a feeling of being “stuck” no matter what “therapy” they try or actually enjoy others frustration with them for lack of action –they are in resistance. Sometimes it’s easier to buy a new outfit than describe the sadness of a lost loved one to a stranger. Clients sometimes resist expressing their emotions in case they get overwhelmed and can’t “manage” them. They think that if they were to open the door and start crying they might never be able to stop. So they resist even starting the journey.
Others might just want a quick “fix” and resist the actual length of time it takes to unearth the trauma and cleanse it out of the body, mind, and soul. Others might resist because they have been taught that therapy is a “luxury” or something “frivolous” for over indulged people so they don’t allow themselves the chance to benefit. And still, other individuals are too ashamed to even contemplate seeking help.
Becoming a new person? - Priceless - Mastercard.
Where I see particular resistance to self-growth is around paying for therapy. Potential clients who can more than afford the session fee will suddenly balk at the price. It would be investing in themselves which would mean they would have to lower their resistance to personal change. Up come the barriers.
I also experienced this resistance to investing in my own healing. It was four years ago when I was beginning my process of personal therapy I realized that I was spending $20 a week on coffee, $15-25 on food when I was at work or school (and a lot on beer with friends), and an additional $40-100 a month on books that I honestly wasn't reading - and still haven't read. Adding all that up on the low end of those figures, those savings would have paid for half of my monthly therapy!
As a therapist, I am not asking clients to put aside all that is pleasurable to pay for therapy, or to bend over backwards. What I'm asking you to do is ask yourself, what it is you want? I'm not talking about kids, a one bedroom home, a car that works, but much more deeply, what is it you want for your life? Once you've answered that, ask yourself what sacrifices you're willing to make to get there, and perhaps entertain the idea that some of those small changes to get on course for the big change, are only going to enhance your life and relationships.
I would ask you to interrogate your resistance to the session fee. You will uncover that it has nothing to do with the dollar amount but the cost of really shifting your life circumstances that are going to take emotional engagement.
You can make it work. After my initial resistance to paying for my personal development, I now pay far more than my personal fee on a weekly basis for my own therapy for my training analysis to be a psychoanalyst. It is a lot, but the benefits that I have experienced over the past four years in therapy are priceless. I don't even blink or flinch because having that space to air out my problems is really priceless. I am no longer in constant resistance to myself.
Of course counseling is expensive. But private therapy isn't just for “rich people who can afford it”. It’s a service as vital as a gym membership, medical check ups, dental visits etc. It is for the people who see value in it and are willing to make it work. Which for some requires a varying degree of sacrifice. The people that I see in counseling run the spectrum from the individual running the dishwasher at a restaurant to nurse practitioner to a lawyer.
For a lot of folks that I do consultations with, I get the sense that they've either never been in therapy or they don't have a strong sense of the value of having someone available who they can share the weight of their problems. There is a normal period of adjustment where they have to get used to putting their needs first and being heard in a safe space.
When they stopped resisting, many of the folks I see, have begun to have a better sex life, know how to deeply rest, experience better work/life fulfillment, have more free time, a renewed sense of vision for their life, higher quality and more deeply satisfying relationships with their friends, partner, and family.
What Is Really Holding You Back?
Ask yourself honestly what is really holding you back? Can you afford the cost of doing nothing towards solving the issues that are plaguing you in your life? Can you actually put a price tag on self-fulfillment and personal happiness? What would it be worth to your family to have you in a more joyful and peaceful state? Think about investing in yourself for the long term instead of buying cheap, entertainment that offers a fleeting distraction from your anxieties. Give yourself permission to put yourself first and to stop resisting positive transformation.
Note on Insurance for Counseling visits: Even though your therapist or counselor could be an out of network provider it is still possible for them to get you a reimbursement from some insurance companies. We are also able to assist clients with meeting their deductibles so you can access coverage. This means that counseling can be less of a financial stress.