After intervention, reader questions going into therapy
Wednesday, April 17, 2019
DEAR HARRIETTE: I am nervous about the idea of going to therapy. I was invited to go in order to build a stronger relationship with a family member, but I cannot imagine how talking to a stranger will help.
Whenever my relative and I are around each other for more than a couple of hours, we get into it, and it gets ugly. We seem to pick at each other relentlessly. The rest of the family staged an intervention and told us we have to get it together. They want us to go to therapy. Considering that therapy is an actual profession where people get paid, I question whether the sessions would be personal or just a person doing their job? — Does Therapy Work?
DEAR DOES THERAPY WORK?: Many people are nervous about therapy before they try it, which is understandable. It requires you to open up about your feelings and experiences. Usually people go to therapy when they have reached a crossroads in their lives and need outside help. Given that your family intervened to get you to deal with your issues, it sounds like you are at that place.
The good news is that a professional therapist is trained to listen and support people as they address their personal issues. Because the therapist doesn't know you and has been professionally educated on how to address a broad variety of challenges that people face, he or she will likely be able to help you and your family member talk objectively about whatever is going on. Objectivity is key in sorting through emotionally charged issues.
I recommend that you go to the therapy sessions with the belief that you will gain tools for how to build a more loving, respectful bond with your family.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I sometimes find myself struggling with time management. I know the feeling of being ahead of the game and prepared, and it is great. However, I always find myself procrastinating. Sometimes it is because I can lose all internal motivation. I do want to make a change in the long run. I need advice on how I should better myself. — Stuck
DEAR STUCK: I am a big believer in lists. I make a to-do list every single day, including weekends, that outlines what I have to accomplish. I include personal care, work projects, family — everything that is important to me that needs to be addressed. Then I check off each item as I accomplish it. This provides motivation to move on to the next item on the list.
It is important to break down your tasks into manageable bits. If you put a whole project as one item, it will be harder to see small victories. Break down a big job into smaller parts. In this way, you can monitor your progress. This should help you to conquer procrastination. What's key is that you actually make the list EVERY DAY, and that you check it off. Don't avoid the tool that can help you. Make your list right now!
DEAR HARRIETTE: We just lost a huge leader and influencer in the black community. He went by the stage name Nipsey Hussle, and he was only 33 years old. His death has devastated many, including myself, even though I did not personally know him.
Hussle was working on a documentary about the late holistic practitioner Dr. Sebi, which would expose a lot of truths about the medical and pharmaceutical industries. He advocated for his people and worked on providing a positive environment for the kids of Los Angeles. This is a pattern I have noticed with black leaders: They take initiative but are brought down too soon.
I know being upset won't do anything about it unless I back it up with action. What can I do as an individual to step up for the black community and continue the initiatives of our great fallen leaders? — Carrying the Torch
DEAR CARRYING THE TORCH: First, I must say that it is tragic that Nipsey Hussle was murdered. He was one of the good ones — a change agent who was devoted to his community and to holistic healing. One ray of light is that the entertainer Nick Cannon is reportedly going to ensure that the documentary about Dr. Sebi will be completed. Sebi is another one gone too soon. Though not an actual doctor, he devoted his life to discovering ways to heal the body and, in turn, the community, and he died under suspicious circumstances after stating that he had found a cure for HIV and AIDS.
What you and others can do in the face of this tragedy is to live an authentic life and devote some time to a cause that will support humanity. Be a better person. Donate your time and energy to making the world a better place. Keep Nipsey Hussle's memory alive by talking about his good work. If a charity is established in his name, donate to that entity.
DEAR HARRIETTE: My friend is in law school at the moment, but she is starting to doubt herself and let the stress get to her. Since I do not know the ins and outs of the coursework and requirements she has, she feels that I cannot relate to her or help her. I care about her and try to encourage her that she will graduate and be a great lawyer. Do you have any words of wisdom to share with her as a successful woman in this world who has had to work hard? — Encouraging My Friend
DEAR ENCOURAGING MY FRIEND: Nothing worth achieving comes easy. That's just true. No matter who you are, there will be hard times — some of which may seem insurmountable. A sign of character is how you navigate the challenges.
Though you are not a lawyer, you can be of support to your friend if she will let you. Sometimes the best comfort comes from people who have no clue about the nuances of your worries. They just love you unconditionally and provide that shoulder to cry on when you need it. Offer to be that shoulder — no questions asked — when she needs it.
Harriette Cole is a lifestyle writer and author, nationally syndicated advice columnist and motivational, wife and mother. She founded Dream Leapers, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to email@example.com.