Thursday, October 7, 2021

Helping our patients to accept the “unfixable”

Counseling is fundamentally helping folks gain the skills to fix the fixable, and emotionally accept the unfixable.

The latter is the hard part.

The question is, how does one emotionally accept something?

How does one teach “emotional acceptance”?

One way is to practice “holding space” for a feeling, thought, or narrative, without the urge to act or run away from it.

So what does that mean?

When we have an uncomfortable feeling, set of thoughts, or narrative, it can “suck us” in and create an emotion or urge to act. It can be very intrusive. If these are unhelpful or have themes that we cannot change, it can lead to a lot of problems.

The discomfort of these feelings, thoughts, or narratives can make us run away or avoid. This is experiential avoidance and can impact our lives in very negative ways.

Being able to be grounded, present, and being able to hold space for these uncomfortable feelings, thoughts, or narratives, without getting “sucked in” or repelled by them, is a form of acceptance.

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