Many theoretical approaches to therapy emphasize the importance of addressing the underlying or core issues of clients rather than merely treating their symptoms. These core issues emerge in sessions as themes or patterns in the lives of clients. These themes and patterns have a behavioral component and accompanying beliefs and emotions. Patterns of behavior can be very difficult to change because everyone likes things that are familiar and secure. Stepping out of a familiar pattern or role can be scary.

In my session with Debbie, we eventually get to a point where we talk about her role in her family of origin. Her listening and helping role is a deeply familiar one in which she often feels trapped and burdened. Many clients experience roles in their lives that are less than satisfying and sometimes they are frustrated but can’t seem to change them.

Debbie’s role in her family is a good example of a theme or pattern in her life. Therapists fill a unique role in clients’ lives because as they listen they can help clients see things clearly that they may only have seen dimly. Seeing one’s self more clearly does not always feel good but it does allow for more freedom from self-limiting patterns of behavior.

In this video, I talk about Debbie’s role and we watch a clip of her talking about her tendency to be somewhat passive about her own feelings and thoughts with her family of origin and how her role is burdensome and leaves her feelings somewhat worthless. I hope that the importance of this issue in her life is apparent in this clip.

Talk to you soon.


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