Happy New Year, NVLPC! I hope everyone has enjoyed the holidays and is excited for the year ahead. New Year’s should be a great time for mental health professionals: it’s the one point in the year that most people are excited about “change”. From fitness to lifestyle goals, people start the year excited about the possibility of making healthy lifestyle changes.
As we know, many people’s New Year’s resolutions fizzle out within a few weeks. Amongst the killers of change are frustration, lack of support, and waning motivation. As counselors, it is our role to help encourage clients to continue these changes long term. We see clients at different intervals, in supportive environments, and have the opportunity to help guide those we serve with tried-and-true tools that we know work well. This is our moment!
One consideration as we work with clients during this time period is to alter perceptions about change. Change takes time and is a process. We know that, but do many of our clients? I believe that one of our main hurdles as counselors is educating clients about the reality of change. Change involves more than a whim and willpower. From a cognitive- behavioral perspective, all behaviors serve a purpose and one of the keys to changing them
is identifying the role it plays in their daily lives. In order to best support changes in our clients, it is imperative that we explain the reality of change and the necessity of small, achievable, goals.