I got a call from an old client recently. I accidentally scheduled an appointment for him through my online system and he was calling to let me know. We chatted briefly and he reported that he is doing much better than when he came in to see me. He was experiencing debilitating symptoms at the time and despite previous attempts at treatment, medication and current therapy with me, his symptoms just weren’t lifting. He suddenly called me one day and dropped out of treatment. And for me, that is where our story ended, or so I thought. My goal with clients is to help them heal and relieve symptoms and at the same time respect their decision to change course in treatment. I’m a naturally inquisitive person and often wonder what happens to people I don’t hear from again. Little did I know, I was going to have the chance to find this out.

When I spoke to him, he reported that something I said must have sunk in. Something shifted inside of him and changed. He sounded really great on the phone and shared that he was feeling great too. He thanked me for the work we did together and we hung up. I gave our conversation some thought and wondered how this turned out to be a treatment success, when if someone had asked me prior to talking to him, I would have said treatment was not effective. What I was able to recognize that the biggest factor in his case, and with many people, is the desire to have things differently in their life. The biggest factor of change in therapy is the client. I am simply a conduit for change. I provide the tools and feedback, but it’s up to the client to do something with that information given. This was truly a case of reciprocity that continued on past the time in my office. This client was able to show me that no matter what technique was being done and what really insightful information was explored, it has to do with a person’s willingness and desire to have a different life.

So now I decided to write a post about this topic for both myself and you, the reader. It served as a reminder to me that even though I might not see the fruits of my labor right away as a therapist, the seeds were planted and someone can bloom in their time, in their way. As for current and future clients, I implore you to think about what you desire in your life and how you (and me) can make it happen. It is after all the New Year and a time for renewal and setting intentions. What do you want your 2015 to look like? Are you currently in therapy and feeling stuck? Just remember therapy is a process and things take time and who knows, one day you will be able to call your old therapist and gush about the shifts you have made in your life.

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Amanda Patterson, LMHC, CAP decided to become a therapist while attending Nova Southeastern University. She saw the need to help people achieve the life they wanted to live, while creating a life of her own. She completed her master’s in Mental Health Counseling and started a career in the juvenile justice arena. Since then, she has started a private practice in Pembroke Pines, Florida, specializing in depression, anxiety relationship issues, and substance abuse. Amanda is a believer in holistic treatment and she practices veganism, meditation and yoga in her life. Find out more about her practice here. For a free 15-minute consultation, call or text Amanda at 954-258-8845 or email her at amanda@amandapattersonlmhc.com.

Disclaimer: The client stories posted on this blog are intended to provide learning opportunities or address challenges in the home- or community-based counseling settings. Identifying information has been omitted and details have modified as necessary.