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  • David Yentzen

Change: Getting From Here to There

Updated: Apr 25

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Photo by Javier Allegue Barros on Unsplash

Sometimes we know that things need to be different. Sometimes we have tried to change before and haven’t had the success we’ve hoped for. Sometimes we may see others make changes in their lives and that leaves us hungry for the same. Change can be difficult but rewarding and is often not a single task but a lifestyle. Change involves three distinct but connected parts.

First, we must become aware that something needs to be different. Second, we must think about and

plan on doing something different the next time we find ourselves in a challenging situation (and there

is always a next time). Third, we must put our thinking and planning into action in our lives and the relationships we have with others.

The second part of change is often best accompanied with an objective, neutral, and informed professional who can listen, watch, observe, and make insightful suggestions. Of the three parts, action by the person wishing to change is the most important because the only one who can change us is ourselves; focusing on ourselves and not the other involves slowing down, thinking, planning, practice, and self-reflection. When we do something different, we can determine if it worked for us by thinking about where our anxious feelings are. Are our anxious feelings lower, less intense than before? Does that change improve the authenticity of our own connection with others, and are we able to be calmer and more thoughtful within that connection?

Change, even when invited, is hard. However, change can be more effective if approached in a systematic, thoughtful way. Many people find that once they identify what needs to change then setting a specific goal instead of a general goal is more helpful. Keeping the goal in mind, we must practice or rehearse what to do differently before we find ourselves in an emotionally intense exchange as conceptualizing change and implementing change rarely occur simultaneously. By creating a specific goal and practicing what to do differently, we are more likely to pursue change in the presence of emotional intensity.

This is how we get from here to there.

David Yentzen, M.Ed., LPC-Associate

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