change is inevitable over the course of any individual's life. The most basic change is physical and physiological as each person develops from infancy, to adolescence, to adulthood. In the wake of these changes, individuals interact with each other gaining social knowledge, and nurture their beliefs and behaviors. Throughout the lifespan we are constantly changing whether we are aware of it or not. There are times in one's life where change is necessary, and one must create their own change to reap the emotional and mental benefits. I believe that individuals are responsible for generating their change, and have the capacity to instill change at any point in life as long as the individual is willing to be an active participant. In my own life, I decided to make a change I called "making time for time." I needed to reevaluate what was important to me, and make time for the people and interests that I had been neglecting. After questioning the concept of change, and considering change I created in my own life, it made me question the counselor's role with change during the counseling process. In the counseling context, my concept of change has made me question the balance between a counselor guiding a client through change vs. A client discovering the needed changes on their own. Although the process of change is experienced by all, each individual has their own unique journey to discovering and making changes in their life.
Change itself is not unique; it is the experience of change that is unique to each and every individual. Some changes are a consequence of aging and "growing up," while other changes must be initiated by the individual to induce their own happiness and increase quality of life. Every individual has the capacity to create change in their own life. The potential for change exists, but in order to create change the individual must be mentally and emotionally willing to implement their own modifications. In my own experience with friends, family, co-workers, and the people I encounter in my everyday life I found that many people "wait" for change to happen to them. Instead of seeking the change they need, people can begin to accept and become complacent with their current situation instead of creating change to meet their needs. Changes people seek in their lives range from small personal change, to large lifestyle changes. For example, change can be considered adopting healthier eating habits, going back to school, quitting a job, moving, ending a relationship, having a child, and so forth. Some change is needed because one's current circumstances are life threatening. In such instances where an individual is in an abusive relationship, creating change is not only a personal struggle but has the potential to escalate into an even more harmful situation.
Despite the intensity of one's degree of change, the power to create change resides in the individual. It is the individual alone who is responsible for evaluating what needs to change, conceptualizing a strategy, and taking action to apply change. No one else can create change for you. When I think of myself, friends, family, and our experiences with change, I realize that we can be resistant to change because of fear. Some people are afraid to leave their comfort zone to search for the change they need, and some can be afraid of the consequences of change and how it will affect their life. Others can project blame onto their work, relationships, or family as reasons why their life is not the way they want. It is my belief that change comes from within, and that one must be ready to do the internal work to integrate new change.
I have reflected my beliefs on change into my own life. I call the change I wanted to make for myself, "making time for time." Before instilling this change, I was filled with a lot of guilt for not making time for the important people and interests in my life. I was becoming distant from my friends, withdrawn from family activities, and was neglecting pastimes that made me feel emotionally happy. For example, I had stopped reading books, seeing movies, and volunteering, which were all activities that I enjoyed and made me feel more fulfilled. Just as I have watched other friends and peers do, I started to blame other facets of my life for being disconnected from people and interests. I blamed being too overwhelmed with school and work to see my friends, and I felt doing something like reading a novel would be a waste of my valuable time. My mood started to change, I had depressive symptoms, I resented my hectic schedule, and I felt guilty for jeopardizing my friendships for being so withdrawn. It wasn't until I realized how depressed my mood was that I focused on needing to make a change in my life. I needed to evaluate what was important to me, and "make time for time." I had to make time for my friends, family, movies, pleasure reading, volunteering, and other activities that I valued.
To introduce the "making time for time" change on my life I had to change my scheduling habits. I identified that the core issue was not school or work, but time management. The greatest hurdle to making this change was to actually use my planner. I started blocking out times that were just for me, and turned myself into a list maker. I created to-do lists and schedules to complete them. I also scheduled time for friends, family, and alone time. I made the active decision to make these people and activities priorities in my life. Once I made the change to better organize my time, I was able to find the balance between school, work, and my personal life. I will admit that it is not always perfect. There are difficult weeks where I am hard on myself and have to focus on schoolwork, and there are other weeks where I can tell how a healthy balance makes me feel more engaged with my own life.
My experience with change taught me how difficult it is to realize the moment you need change to happen. While in my depressed mood, I was unable to link the cause of my mood to lack of time management. The lines were not that clear and it was not obvious to me that was the problem. I was caught up in blaming other people and blaming my schedule to realize I was the one who needed to change my habits. Through this process I realized it is a lot easier to place the blame elsewhere than it is to admit to yourself that you need to change. This experience also taught me that when you are caught up in the moment and the desperateness of your own situation, it is difficult to see the big picture. I learned it isn't only the solution that is not clear, but it is also challenging to evaluate the full scope of the circumstances. At the time of being withdrawn, I did not realize that my behavior was also affecting my friends and family. I was only capable of accusing my busy schedule for my problems, and if my friends questioned me I would feel hurt that they did not understand how I did not have time for them. The hardest part about creating change was acknowledging, knowing, and accepting which change needed to happen.
In addition to realizing the difficulty of identifying what needed to change, my experience helped solidify my beliefs on the changing process. During my process, I was the only person capable of affecting change in my life. No one else was able to change me, or tell me how to change. My experience supported my values on changing in that the individual has the capacity to create change. My experience also encouraged my belief that each individual is responsible for their own journey, and must come to their own terms about their life and what needs to change. We must be accountable for our actions and take responsibility for how we live life. Although friends, family, etc. can support you and encourage change, it is the individual who must initiate and execute the process alone.
By accepting the process of change as an individual journey, it has made me question the role of the counselor during the counseling experience to achieve change. The majority of individuals in counseling are seeking change, whether it is emotional change, finding ways to cope with change, to address mental illness, or wanting to change a relationship with people, work, money, etc. My experience has made me question the role of the counselor as the intermediate between the individual and their desired change. I feel many clients go to a counselor to be "fixed," and do not acknowledge the change they need to make by themselves. It makes me question: Are clients aware that they should…