Happy Back To The Future Day, everyone! For those of us who saw this movie years ago when it was first released, 2015 seemed impossibly far away. And those hoverboards…I can’t wait! That’s a lock, right? As it got closer, we knew it wasn’t happening, but it still seemed like a great idea. Of course, things went wrong for Doc and Marty when they went back to 1985 and found Biff had drastically changed the past... for the worse. Luckily, we don’t have to worry about that, unless one of you out there has a DeLorean time machine. If so, please take me for a ride!
But while we can’t change the past, we most certainly can change the future. In fact, that’s the reason that most of us choose to attend psychotherapy. We’re unhappy or discontent with our lives and we hope things work out better for our future.
Part of being a good therapist is helping your clients set concrete and attainable goals, and I have had success asking clients to pretend that they have a time machine and can travel to the future. Often when clients first come to my office, they may have a more abstract goal like “I want to stop being depressed.” I can certainly understand that, but it is easier for the client to achieve this (and for me to collaborate in getting the client where they want to be) if I can have some idea of what that future looks like. So I might respond with something like “OK, so we’ve arrived in the future. And you’re not depressed. Tell me what the first thing is that you notice about your life.” People will often respond with something much more concrete such as “I have a great job and I’ve got my bills paid off” or “I have more time to spend with my kids and we’re at Fiesta Texas” or “I’m up and around, spending time with my friends instead of just lying in bed.” These are much more concrete goals, and, together, we can begin figuring out some small steps towards getting there.
With that in mind, get behind the wheel, floor it, hit 88 miles per hour and let’s go!
Therapy Goes POP
Perspectives on therapy and mental health as viewed through the lens of popular culture