Are People Ever Fully Fixed?
Living in a quick-fix society, people come to our facility looking for that one fix-it-all that will change their lives forever. Well, occasionally that happens, but it is rare. Because we are so complex, the pill, the prayer, or the special activity won’t fix the matter, psychotherapy can but only with dedication. Are people ever fully fixed? We can help them learn a wide array of tools and approaches to use, but there are many factors that are involved in ultimately letting go of a problem forever. Since we can only provide education and support, it is basically the responsibility of the individual to follow through on the education and counseling we provide in order to better themselves. No, we don’t have a magic wand, or if we did, it wouldn’t be much service to people. Processing through your own issues is empowering, inspiring, and a new sense of freedom can be achieved by your own actions.
There are a lot of factors that once combined properly, can help people achieve the results they desire. Will the fix last forever? Well, this article discusses this in detail.
Perhaps we can break down the elements that help people improve.
- Family Programming
According to Murray Bowen, who created Family Systems Therapy, he viewed the family as a system and it provided us with both conscious and subconscious programming to act, think, and feel certain ways. He worked to help a person to “Individuate” or break free from the family conditioning and become their own person.
If a person isn’t motivated to change, they will find difficulties in therapy. Therapy works best when someone is sick and tired of being sick and tired and is willing to try new ways of thinking and acting. We are very powerful beings, though nobody has shown us how to harness this energy. When people have the motivation to make things happen and are committed to following through on their commitments to self – amazing things take place. Here’s what normally stops us:
- Comfort Zone
Often people are so used to feeling and acting in a certain way that it is not natural to change. If arguing with your partner is how you have interacted for years, suddenly being loving and supportive could be weird. The same goes for substance use. Substance use could be your normal and suddenly having clear thoughts could be vastly different. Of course, as the mind clears, so do the issues that you have suppressed for a long time. This could be troubling and cause a person to relapse. Therefore, psychotherapy becomes a key to processing through these feelings to help yourself move forward.
- Social System
It is not only us that change as we work on ourselves, it is also the system of friends, coworkers, and family. So often the people who have bonded with you in the substance use can be threatened by your attempts to sober up. If others are used to you having bad depression and needing a shoulder to cry on, suddenly seeing you upbeat can be shocking. You, to them, are now an entirely different person! Often, all efforts are now made to return you back to how you have normally been, otherwise, they will have to adjust and that can be too much for them to cope with.
- The Bargaining
As we adjust to the new and improved us, the darker side of our psyche comes into play. “You could take one drink, it won’t hurt anyone. Just to take the edge off. Others can do it.” I’m sure these thoughts come up as you diet, engage in regular exercise, or even at work. You know – pushing off projects you just don’t want to face until the very last minute.
Yin Yang refers to the balance of the dark and light within us. The dark part can be tough to handle in early recovery because it is all the raw negativity like anger, anxiety, and hurt we have tried to avoid. We humans, like a car battery, need a balance of positive and negative. In befriending and learning to work with our shadows, we are whole.
- Our Own Self-Limitations
Many will label themselves as always _______. Fill in the blank. Perhaps, not good enough, not smart enough, somebody that doesn’t deserve success. Shoot, when I worked at a luxury treatment center in Malibu, many of my clients, who were both rich and famous, had an imposter complex. They just didn’t believe they deserved the acclaim, because down deep they still identified with growing up on the street, being poor, or being discarded by family. They found it hard to shake that feeling that somehow, they were innately bad.
On the other hand, a lot of people believe that ailments are something to be tolerated and not healed. “Once an addict always an addict.” “I will always have to tolerate my anxiety, or anger, or whatever.” Well, if you buy into these statements then no, you will never change. What if by some miracle, the ailment leaves because you chose to use a new tool instead of the mindset, the substance, or bad behavior? It is staying with the new tools that will help you expand your comfort zone, move you out of that familiar pit, and embrace the good things that life has to offer. Do you have to suffer day in and day out? It isn’t a crime to feel happy.
Genetics plays a key role in change. If there is a family history of mental illness or substance abuse, you are more likely to follow these trends. Now, are we a victim of our genetics? No, not at all. Medication, exercise, diet, and relaxation all contribute to changing our genes. For example, I go to a naturopathic doctor who does blood tests, supplements problematic areas, and as a result, my body has drastically improved.
When we go through traumatic events, there is a part of us that tries to guard from getting hurt again. This is when we put up a shield and are on the lookout for anyone or anything that can harm us. Under stress, the mind will slip back, or “Regress” to this traumatized part of us and we suddenly take on the perspective of the younger part of us that initially got injured.
Unfortunately, not many therapists are trained in this process and try to tell patients what to do. While regressed, we are not thinking normally so have to feel our way through the situation. This type of work can be painful, but do you want to cover up a thorn on your skin with a bandage or simply pull it out? Once out the healing process begins.
At our facility, we do this through play and loving interactions. Often times it feels like you are going through mud at first, but the more you do this type of work, the more easy and natural it becomes. I never knew that climbing trees could be so healing, but with reparenting work, the younger part inside of me knew exactly what he needed to do to feel better.
Well, lookie here. I’ll need to bring this article to a close. Obviously, there is a lot more to write on this subject, and if I’m not careful another book will pop out.
I’ll leave you with this. Dr. Mary Hulnick, the co-founder of the University of Santa Monica said to me – “Scott, we see Earth as a school and each issue is our curriculum. We are not fully finished until we graduate.” Yeah, I knew what she was telling me. We are going to always have issues to deal with. Therefore, to answer my initial question if people are ever fully fixed the answer is no, however in learning the tools to process and overcome our issues, life is much smoother, much happier, and we aren’t down for long periods of time.
Compassionate Care is Always Available
There are many more tools and strategies you can use in your pursuit of happiness. Here is where we come in. Contact us at Basic Steps Mental Health and let us support and educate you on this journey back to your loving heart center. Imagine living a heart-centered life, regardless of what is happening externally. We’d love to be of help.
For 25 years, Dr. Scott Alpert, the clinical director of Basic Steps Mental Health, has treated over 7,000 people with mental health and addiction problems, using a Psychological approach that mixes and matches ten of the top approaches used in the industry. We are here virtually and in-person to help you get through this COVID-19 pandemic and many other difficulties you may be experiencing.
May you have good mental health.