This semester I joined a gym and started to look forward to workouts to alleviate stress. For a while I was lucky enough to rely on massages, but honestly, the “Self Care” column of my budget had too many $$. When I was younger I trained as a competitive swimmer, typically 6 out of 7 days. The willingness to return to a physically challenging routine came from… well, I’m not really too sure! Whatever the case may be, it’s thrilling to see even small results.
Committing to making the changes in order to have a healthier lifestyle is anything but easy. Tonight my trainer pushed me harder than he’s had to push me before. I felt weak and ready to give up halfway through some of the sets. Thankfully he stayed right there with me to encourage me through my workout. Reflecting on the encouragement the trainer provides reminds me of what I’ve learned about therapeutic relationships. Many seasoned professionals in the field have strong opinions either for or against empirically supported treatments and the like. When the technicalities are pushed aside, however, we have to realize that at the very core of our work with clients is the relationship we have built with them. Without a strong foundation upon which to do the tough emotional work, the process would probably be unmanageable. By making ourselves stable supports, clients will hopefully feel encouraged enough to commit to the process and achieve the changes they desire for themselves.