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Lean Into the Discomfort

Throughout grad school some of our instructors supplied us with the mantra 'lean into the discomfort'. Leaning into the discomfort is something that really resonated with me in grad school, and continues to resonate with me in my work with others. Just as folks who come to see therapists are leaning into the discomfort, we therapists are also leaning into our own discomfort. This is not a bad thing; we are human after all! The therapeutic relationship rests on our ability to acknowledge and move through our own emotions in conjunction with our clients acknowledging and moving through their emotions and experiences. For therapists, this is a delicate balance. We must be aware of our own emotions so that they do not interfere with our client's processing of emotions, and subsequent experience in therapy.

So, back to the beginning, and the mantra 'lean into the discomfort'. I recently attended a conference where a therapist named Lynn Lyons LICSW was speaking about the necessity of not "doing the disorder" that we are working with. To me, this goes hand in hand with leaning into the discomfort. If we are uncomfortable, we are likely not 'doing the disorder' so to speak. Because we are making strides against the disorder, we feel uncomfortable. It is within this discomfort that change occurs. We must always remember, whatever the problem is, it likes comfort and certainty in it's ability to stick around. If the problem is uncomfortable, and uncertain then we know we are moving in the right direction.

Therapy involves an intimate interaction between people at an emotional level.

Therapy will be uncomfortable at times.

We need to move through this discomfort in order to move forward.

Let us know what you think!

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