By: Tonya Rice MA, LPC
One evening, I entered one of the local bookstores in my neighborhood. When browsing the shelves, I reached for a book titled “Nowhere but Up”, a memoir written by Pattie Mallette. I began to read the first couple of pages of her book and she described a dream that she had. She wrote,
“One night I had a dream in which my job was to clean out every room in a gigantic house, which was made up mostly of bedrooms. The bedrooms belonged to girls of different ages, from babies to teenagers, and were stuffed with clothes, garbage, and toys piled almost a foot high. I was so overwhelmed by the task. In the first room, I couldn’t do much more than clear a bit of space around my feet by shoving some of the stuff to the side. So, I decided to go to another room and to try again. It was more of the same. I repeated this process in room after room, with the same result- all I could manage to do was clear a small space around my feet. I was frustrated. I didn’t have a clue how to start cleaning up.
As I stood there, unable to move, I heard a voice. Instinctively, I knew it belonged to God. “Go to the beginning of the house,” He said.
My dream self knew what I had to do. I went to the first room of the house, the living room, and started removing every single object from the room. I dumped everything outside- couches, lamps, rugs, tables, pictures, books- until the room was empty. Then I scrubbed the walls clean, repainted them, and brought back in only the items I wanted. One room was clean. Now I knew how to go back and clean the rest.
When I woke from the dream and meditated on it, I saw a correlation between the house in that dream and the events of my childhood. The different rooms represented me at different ages and the areas of my life I was trying to clean up or heal as an adult. The simple instruction from the dream struck me. Go to the beginning.”
This dream explains the process of counseling in such a clear analogy. We need to “go the beginning”. Counseling is also a lot like gardening. When you weed a garden, you first start with digging to the root of the weed to prevent it from growing back. At the beginning of my counseling career, I found myself frustrated. I spent time working with people addressing surface issues without seeing much change. Or the issues seemed to be addressed, but would quickly return. That was when I recognized that unless you get to the root of an issue, it will be as ineffective as cutting leaves from weeds or chopping the visible portion of the weed off, only for it to continue to grow and take over the garden. Getting to the beginning or the root of an issue is key to the cure of it. Once you get to the root, you can uproot the weed and move on to the next one. Once your garden is free of weeds, you can focus on replanting beautiful plants and flowers in their place.
To begin we need to identify what weeds are in your life. Simply put, weeds are the surface issues in your life that lead you to seeking help. It could be a failing relationship, a lingering sadness that will not go away, worry, stress, conflicts with friends, feeling alone, anger, unsatisfied in life, pressure to perform, addiction, affairs, lying, shame, guilt, trouble sleeping, irritable mood, disappointment, discouragement, hopelessness, worthlessness, difficulty concentrating, overwhelmed with life, desire to divorce, not wanting to live, etc. These are the initial reasons that lead people to coming into my office for counseling. Many aspects of counseling focus on providing you with coping skills, conflict resolution skills, and positive self-talk. These skills are techniques are very important and are helpful, however, they do not eliminate the problem and do not deal with the root/core of an issue.
In order to fully understand and recognize how to truly root out negative problems in your life we first must understand our minds. Our minds are the foundation of where the journey begins. Through counseling at All Things Possible Wellness Center, we strive to help you get to the root of your issues and lead a life that is enjoyable, fulfilling and peaceful. It is my hope that you would consider counseling as a method that can help you to process through deep rooted problems in a comfortable, non-judgmental and safe environment.