As a therapist, a large portion of my job is to listen and help my clients process their feelings and perspectives. Some of the most successful work can be done when we together have the target of gaining insight into how and why they are being experienced in a certain way in the hope of finding a way to reframe the perspective or modify the unwanted response to them.
If you’re new to the concept of processing it is basically sorting out information to label, define or understand it better. Here is a distilled version of how you can process
1. Start by being open and honest
There is no one to impress here as you are working through past events - be sure to recount them as you remember it, not sugar coated or edited to make yourself look better or someone else look worse. Lay out all the facts (as you see them) on the table to begin.
2. Ask for an outside perspective
Next time you want to process a certain feeling or event with your therapist, ask some of these questions:
- Is there something here that I can’t see?
- What is my role to play in this?
- Why does this pattern seem to continually play out?
3. Reframe the events as needed
You get to be the author of your story. What can you learn from this? Maybe a simple verbiage switch of “I am a failure” can change to “In this area I failed - and that is okay. I am not a failure. I am a human who is learning. Failure is a part of growth!”
Of course, if you don’t have a therapist currently, please feel free to reach out. I’d be happy to consult with you and see if we would be a fit together or refer you to one of my colleagues who could assist.