Instilling the Possibility of Change

Mar 05, 2017

“When I meet people I am very wary. I build up a wall of talk. Then I throw a rope over the wall, and if anyone tugs at it, I haul it in.”

Edvard Munch
Norwegian Expressionist Artist

Instilling the Possibility of Change

TISA Description of the Problem: In ongoing therapy with depressed clients, one of the most devastating processes that a client can experience is the sense that “nothing will change.” Such thinking can lead to hopelessness and, indeed, suicidal thought as well. The importance of transforming this damaging cognition that “nothing will change” is addressed in the following pertinent tip from Tracy Dee.

Tip: Two cognitions can bring significant relief to a client dealing with severe depressive feelings: 1) “This is not how I will always feel” and 2) “This is not the person I will always be.” In sensitively addressing these ideas, I find that they speak to the temporality of “everything”, including the difficult issues that overwhelm us. Furthermore, a gentle discussion of these topics can lead into an exploration of useful therapeutic questions such as, “What kind of person do I want to be?” or “How would I rather feel if given a choice?” And, very importantly, they may generate a focus upon the therapeutically powerful question of “How may I achieve different results?”

TISA Follow-up: The above excellent tip from Tracy helps to provide a focus on some of the cognitive re-structuring that can be so helpful to the depressed client, gently moving the client to the issue of concretely designing, with the therapist, alternative solutions and strategies – a therapeutic task that often reawakens the all important sense of “hope”.

Tip provided by:

Tracy Dee

TISA is a site dedicated to advancing the science and art
Of preventing suicide and teaching clinical interviewing