When life throws challenges our way, whether it is with our relationship, our family, fertility, health, careers, parents, child or something else, people can really get focused on trying to understand or answer “Why.” “Why” questions about our past often can become absorbing and stop us from taking positive action in the present.
For people seeking individual counselling or marriage counselling there is the mistaken belief that if you could answer why you’d be able to solve your current problems. One of the reasons pursuing “why” questions about our past is so defeating, is that our memory is malleable like clay.
A memory reflects the meaning you applied to a past event or situation and over time as you gather new information you may change the meaning that you give that memory and therefore recall the incident differently. Just as we shape clay we shape and model and reshape our memories. The brain is not photographic, but rather takes data and applies meaning. Our past memories are also shaped by our current state of mind and the information we have today. Therefore, looking back and relying on your memories may not be an accurate representation of what may have actually happened. You can remember incidents about your marriage when you were happy and feeling loving towards your spouse differently, than when you are feeling or viewing your relationship negatively.
Another challenge with focusing on “why” questions in either individual counselling or marriage counselling, is that the possible answers or information is stuck in the past. No matter how hard we try, we cannot change the past and this focus on the past can become very draining and unproductive. Individual counselling or marriage counselling cannot go back in time and undo things that were done. Since we can only change the present, focusing on the past is not helpful in individual or marriage counselling and often causes us to taken effort from the present where we are most effective. Insteading focusing on the present results in the best outcome and fastest change in counselling.
Focusing only “why” leads a person to feeling extremely hopeless, defeated and helpless. You cannot control or change things that happened in the past. By putting your energy into the past, it will not result any changes in your present. We only have control over our present.
The other seduction of “why” in individual counselling or marriage counselling is that it makes people think that awareness to this answer will bring about change. However, awareness of a problem is often the only the first step in change. Once you know something isn’t effective, now you must make the choice and take steps to change it. Just answering “why” doesn’t guarantee you’ll do this or know how to do it.
You do not need to be able answer “why” to get started on making things better now. Instead effective therapy moves you beyond “WHY” and helps you answer “HOW”.
Counselling, with a trained professional counsellor is an empowering and positive experience. Our counsellor will partner with you to teach you more effective thinking and behavior skills so you can choose to live the life you want to live.
Our professinal expat counselors all have at least their Master’s Degree in Mental Health or Psychology and then have over 10,000+ hours of counselling experience.
Call us to learn more about how we can help you get the life you want to live.