Barriers to Growth

How does a person grow from their counseling experience?

One of the reasons a person may seek help from a counselor is because they feel “stuck”, and they just can’t seem to get out of the rut.  Growth is primarily a work that is internal, meaning that while circumstances may or may not change, one can still grow.

So how do we grow? What are some tools we can use?

Of course this question could fill countless blogs and books, so maybe a better question is this:  What are some ways to ensure that we do NOT grow from our counseling experience?
Here are 5 ways that you can insure you do not get anything from your time with the counselor:

1. Don’t be intentional about talking with a counselor.

Don’t make it a priority.  If you treat your time with your counselor like something you do when you feel like it, then don’t be surprised if you don’t get anything out of it.  And if you think you don’t have to be forthcoming or honest then don’t be surprised if you don’t grow. While counselors are trained to read your body language and spot patterns of wrong thinking, they can not read your mind.  If you are not honest, regardless of how it makes your look, then they can’t really help you grow.  You will stay the same.

2. Always have friends who agree with everything you say.

Do you expect a good counselor will agree with you all the time?  A counselor is supposed to be a neutral person that helps you find balance in life, and healthy ways to think. They look for patterns of thinking that need a little adjusting.  A counselor is someone who can listen to your innermost thoughts without judging you. But, if you want to be the same old person you were five years ago, then keep looking for people who agree with you all the time and who reinforces your own biases.  Keep look for friends, churches associations, blogs, books,or anyone who will validate your every thought.  Please don’t ask someone to challenge your thinking and make sure you only interact with people who agree with you.  This is the way to successfully stay stuck!

3. Stay safe.

If you want to stay the same, refuse to take risks…just play life safe, and NEVER, NEVER, NEVER step over that line.

Of course, if you stay behind the line, you will never feel things fully, or experience growth.  You will never experience the richness of love if you refuse to love someone because you didn’t want to experience the pain of maybe losing them.   Alfred Lord Tennyson said it best: “It is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all.”

So, by all means, if you don’t want to grow, then don’t put yourself in situations, or relationships or job assignments that will stretch you and cause you to depend on someone other than yourself. Oh…and just why are you going to a counselor?

4. Keep telling yourself you’re great.

You only grow when you know that you have a problem, or are deficient in some area and want to do something about it.  You only grow when you recognize you are not totally wise, and don’t know everything. Growing is a humbling experience.

So, if you want to stay stuck, don’t read the books or articles the counselor suggests.  Don’t do the homework, don’t study or look for perplexing answers to hard questions. Just keep thinking you have life all figured out and that you can handle anything. But, if you are honest,  you will know you are in need of divine guidance.

Really, if you don’t want to grow, keep thinking you know all the answers and that the counselor doesn’t know what they are talking about.  As long as you think you are the master of the universe, you will be successful at staying stuck.

5. Keep looking for the easy way out.

It is imperative for you to follow the path of least resistance if you don’t want to grow. Keep looking for the shortcuts to the homework assignment, to the questions in life and to perplexing relationships. You see, having a life that makes an real impact often requires hard work, blood, sweat and tears. So,if you want to stay the same way you were 5 years ago, keep looking for the easy way out. Avoid the hard choices in life.

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