In todays world of instant gratification everyone wants what they want now! We want a faster computer or instant messaging, the instant a light turns green we want the driver ahead of us to MOVE NOW or the horn blasts. Is this idea of instant gratification constantly setting us up for disappointment?
Just look at how many new gym memberships are sold after January 1st, the gym is packed but go back 4, 6 or 8 weeks later and notice that the majority of new members have stopped coming. They often had unrealistic expectations and allowed their disappointment to derail their plan for change.
All change takes time. It is estimated that it can take up to 16 weeks for a new habit or pattern to be formed, many people are not accustomed to having the patience required to see that change become a reality. If someone tells you that any change is instantaneous or is complete after one session of anything it is probably wise to be wary.
The reality of therapeutic change that I hear time and time again from clients is that the uncomfortable feeling or pattern becomes further and further away, less intense and lasts for shorter amounts of time. When new challenges arise as they always will in life they feel calmer, more thoughtful and more prepared to deal with them.
Therapeutic change is a partnership between yourself and your therapist. The therapist is there to evaluate the situation, figure out what is going on, explain it to you and determine a course of action. Your part is to bring your determination, persistence and patience to the process and to collaborate in the experience of creating new patterns of going through your life. As part of the process it is important for you to ask questions, be involved in the process and give feedback. In every new session I always want to know if things feel better, worse or the same. This feedback allows me to redirect, tweak or continue along the same path.
Having realistic expectations allows you to enter the therapeutic experience prepared to have the positive outcome that you deserve. Often when beginning a path for change you start to feel better which encourages you engage in the process of change with determination and patience.