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To Change or Not To Change

» Mental Health Library » Featured Articles

By Joseph R Scrivani, MA, LCSW

Joseph R Scrivani, MA, LCSW

A wiser person than I once said that the only constant in life is change. Oh, the irony!

The process of change is all around us – seasons change, fashions change, our bodies and our moods change. We’ve written books, songs and poems about it and even taken photographs and films to record the process. Yet, for a great many people, even the prospect of change is wrought with dread and anxiety.

Feeling anxious and upset about change does not mean we are immature, weak or incapable. Feeling anxious and upset about change means we are human; it confirms our humanity. Humans are highly social creatures. We function best when we have steady contact with others and live with routine schedules. The need for routine is so ingrained in the human psyche, that even when we have become aware of the harmfulness of our habits of daily living, it can be extremely difficult to change them. (This is separate from addiction, particularly chemical addiction.)

The process of change is at the heart of therapy. We are often motivated to seek therapy when we have decided that an aspect of our life needs to change (internal change.) Other times, individuals will seek therapy when adjusting to a change that has already occurred, particularly those that were unexpected, traumatic or out of our control (external change.)

With respect to internal change, therapy can help with the process of change in 3 key areas: contemplating & recognizing a need to change an aspect of one’s life, executing the plan of change and adjusting to & sustaining the change. Each of these three areas, or stages, has obstacles that must be overcome. With the help of a caring, insightful and nonjudgmental therapist, an individual can successfully move through these stages towards a happier and more fulfilling state of living.

About the Author...

Joseph R Scrivani is a licensed clinical psychotherapist in private practice in Astoria, Queens. He provides individual therapy to adults, age 18+.

Last Update: 5/8/2015

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