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What is Considered Making Progress?
14th Aug


What is Considered Making Progress?

I have found in the course of my clinical mental health counseling practice work that somethings are so obvious, yet when we are in the moment, we cannot fathom any other perspective.

Case in point – when doing marriage & couples therapy, one partner will insist that he/she has been working hard improving on his/her areas of concern.  The other partner will not deny the changed behaviors, yet will insist that it is not enough.  Essentially, what has just happened?  There was an admission of fact, yet denial of improvement.  Partner #2 has bifurcated something that cannot be bifurcated.  Why?  Because one part of the fact is logical and one part is emotional.  When we are in the moment, we can do these nasty mind tricks.  But it goes further, as now the person who perhaps even admittedly has more areas to improve upon has actually done so, there is no validation of the hard work.  How detrimental to the relationship is that?  Yes, as it currently stands there are still two pictures, the ideal picture (we will get back to that later) and the reality picture.  Both pictures are better than when they started, yet one cannot accept that since that partner has idealized the reality.  However, this is harmful.

Anyone who has taken advantage of the various marriage education workshops prior to their marriage will know that life isn’t ideal.  Life doesn’t function in the “starry-eyed” state of affairs of Hollywood.  (Hey it doesn’t even function like that in real life Hollywood either, just on the screen.)  Life has its challenges and struggles.  A good goal for marriage (either on your own as a couple OR through facilitation with a therapist) should be to accept that we are always learning and growing.  We are not a completed entity, but a work in progress.  Accepting that the reality is a work in progress is so critical to seeing improved function.  In fact, I’d argue that accepting that we are a work in progress is a great first step and would certainly be considered improvement in and of itself.

Next time you consider your marriage, wonder – are we where we were a few months ago?  A few years ago?  Etc.  If the answer is yes, super!  Now, ask yourself “How?”  If the answer is no, why not?  What has happened?  This is a great tool to work on by yourself and then to do so with your partner!

Try and let me know how it goes!

Contact us at 973 594 6457 or 201 803 2648 or here

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