During our retreats the only assumption that we make is that everyone can change. It may not be straight forward, and may take some hard work and involve difficult decisions but essentially we are creators of our own destiny. We can make our lives what we want them to be. If you have already been on one of our counselling retreats you”ll know what we mean.
There are certainly people in the opposite camp who believe that we can’t change no matter how hard we try, (“doom mongers” is what my old counselling friend called them) that life is a fixed commodity and our futures are destined to certain ends that we have no control over. I do think this argument is shrinking over time and less and less people subscribe to it.
The million dollar question though is not, can we change or can’t we change, or as Shakespeare put it “to be or not to be” but how long does change take. This is a real psychological show stopper. Counsellors, therapists, psychologists and practitioners of all sorts will argue vehemently for hours about the answer to this. They will site all kinds of examples, research data and apocryphal psychological tales as evidence for their own beliefs. It’s very tempting to believe that the bigger the change the longer the time it takes, which unfortunately seems not to be the case. We are fickle beings effected by odd and subtle shifts and influences.
My interest in this question has always been at the sharp end; how much change can we make in what little time. I am fascinated by this conundrum. I have worked with hundreds perhaps even thousands of people and witnessed first hand life changing decisions being made in a blink of and eye, and likewise tiny straight forward change taking an eternity.
I remember only too well a man several years ago (a postman actually) who, half way through our first session literally jumped up from his chair and said “I’ve got it, I know what I need to do” and rattled off a list of actions that would forever change the course of his life. I know he went on to carry them all out and in doing so increased the quality of his life immeasurably. My interest has been how to distil these moments of clarity, these blinding flashes of “I know what to do” so they can be replicated at will. An almost magical science that I like to think of as “Accelerated Change”.
Although we are far from understanding the exact mechanics of why we change we have moved on leaps and bounds in the last couple of decades in getting closer to this goal. Like all new breakthroughs it takes time to catch on and become part of mainstream practice, which is a shame.
We apply recent developments in Motivational Psychology to our counseling retreat programme in many different ways. The whole experience is created to allow you to make as much change as possible in as little time available. Generally speaking we are able to make much, much more change and progress in much, much less time than we think.
History has wrongly taught us that change is born out of insight into who we are and how we behave. Therefore so many therapies and counselling approaches hinge upon time consuming and extensive self reflective internal journeys that often become an end in themselves rather than a means to an end. I am not an extremist that would throw the baby out with the bath water but I have seen enough to believe that insight alone does not automatically lead to change and at worst can be a dreadful red herring.
So if it’s not insight that drives change what is it? Fear? Will Power? Grim Determination? No of course not. The big answer is, when you think about it, very simple and straight forward. We change because we really, really want to. Not much of a big secret, but easy to loose sight of. It’s how we can get from zero to “really, really want to” within a week where the real expertise, and experience comes in.
If you are interested in learning more about either our Counselling Retreat, Couples Therapy Retreat or Life Change Holiday or even accelerated change please just send us a message through our contact page.
Hope you have a good week. Talk to you next Monday.
Bye for now. Alex.