Motivation is one of the things that is required for change. Any change. An object at rest stays at rest. An object in motion stays in motion. In Marriage and Family Therapy we learn that everything is part of a system and this system hates change (Gehart, 2018). It will do whatever it can to keep people locked in their current roles or at their current levels of functioning. I’m sure we’ve all noticed that in our life. We start a diet, and our best friend comes over with our favorite ice cream, or the holidays start, or we have a fight with a loved one. We begin to study more, but our friends pressure us to spend more time with them, or maybe our dog misses us. There’s always pressure to maintain the status quo.
Most people think that clients come to therapy because they want change. I disagree with that. I believe people come to therapy because they are in pain. They want the pain to stop. Does stopping the pain often require change? Absolutely! But that does not mean that change is the reason they come to therapy. Change is hard, it can even be painful. But the outcome of change can be a relief from chronic pain.
If I told you I could make you a millionaire tomorrow, most people would be all in for it. No change needed. However, if I tell them I can show them how to become a millionaire by saving, wise investing and working their own business through long hours, not so many people are interested now. That takes change. That takes work.
I think the biggest myth of therapy is that it is something that is done to us by a wise healer. In reality, it is something that is done by us in conjunction with that healer. Therapy is not a miracle cure. It is a springboard to personal growth. It’s hard work, but it is definitely worth it.
Are you game?
Gehart, D. R. (2018). Mastering competencies in family therapy: a practical approach to theories and clinical case documentation. Australia: Cengage Learning.