Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Positive change

You feel stuck and sense the need for change. But what kind of change will be change for the better? Do you look outside yourself for new relationships, a new career, new experience and adventure? Or do you look within to renew your ideas about who you are and your assumptions about the meaning and purpose of your life? Often what is called for is a highly personal balance of inner and outer change. Dealing with this process of change can be confusing and sometimes hazardous.

When we are stuck and feeling frustrated there is a temptation to make dramatic gestures of change. Usually this is not what is needed. Often change that unfolds gradually, from the inside out, is better. The role of the therapist is to guide you through this process of change in a way that is balanced and timely. We encourage you to understand the sources of your moods and frustration. We help you become attuned to the underlying patterns of development in your life, and use this self-understanding as the guiding light for change.

You may feel awkward and confused when going through periods of change. Some of your family and friends may see this as a sign that you are changing for the worse and it would be best for you to stay on safe, familiar ground. However, this awkwardness and ambiguity is a natural part of the process that accompanies transition - reminiscent of the discomfort of adolescence - and you need to pass through it to get to the higher ground. We can help you see the new life that lies ahead beyond the turmoil and give perspective to the process. We will encourage you keep to a middle way, so you neither turn back nor surge ahead recklessly.

One of the key signs of positive change is that we stay related to people we love. This is not to say that there is no conflict. There inevitably will be conflict and heartache. Some relationships will come to an end. Yet during the difficulties of transition, we should be encouraged to nurture our enduring relationships - or at least struggle to keep them alive. When the storms of change have passed, as they will, we then have a basis on which to renew abiding relationships or be open to new ones. During the turmoil of change, we find threads of constancy that illuminate the evolving pattern of our life. This sense of continuity is an invaluable support, and gives meaning to the process of change.

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