As our culture shifts, and the idea of therapy becomes less and less stigmatized, the purpose of therapy has shifted as well. The “barrier to entry” no longer has to be a severe mental health diagnosis, and more and more clients are coming in with the goal of self-actualization: a deeper understanding of the self, a call to a higher purpose, and a desire to heal from past experience that limits us in the present. In creating self-actualization, we find that the traits that once limited us, become our strengths when redirected and better understood.
In my own experience helping clients with this goal, I have noticed a trend in the process:
Awareness: The recognition of the place where we get “stuck”
Overcorrection: Noticing every setback, not only in ourselves, but those around us
Actualization: Acceptance, growth, and change
This process may not always be linear, and that’s ok, there is progress in every step. What is most noticeable though, is that those who choose to seek help in the process feel less overwhelmed by the task, and are often successful in the maintenance of the new insight.
The use of therapy as a tool in this process allows for greater depth in processing, accountability, and motivational support. It is hard to continue to push ourselves towards a less objective goal, but those of us who seek this type of growth trust that the reward is a sense of peace and security.