Kimberly S. Kleinman, LCSW
Understanding how our minds work develops
confidence, flexibility and strength.
"Recognizing the universality of our most private struggles often leads to a second important benefit of reaching out to others."
Brene Brown.

Reaching Out for Connection

Brene Brown is a social worker and researcher who has done extensive work on shame and vulnerability. In the quote above, she is referring to the experience of leaving behind the concept that one is unusual, and taking in the concept that we are all struggling in one way or another. When we recognize that, our capacity to connect increases. One path to this realization is through psychotherapy.

Some people live in a world where everyone they know is in therapy. Some live in a world where the people around them think that something has to be really wrong with you to go to a therapist. Whether you think it is normal or abnormal to begin therapy, taking the risk of connecting to a therapist requires tremendous courage.

Therapy Explores Conflicts that get in your way.

Conflict is Ambivalence that gets in your way. Ambivalence is a part of life. You want to get an education, but sometimes sitting down to write a paper is not at all what you want to do. We somehow seem to manage the contradictions between the desire to accomplish and the desire to play. But, sometimes the ambivalence is greater, or less visible. You want to get an education, but somehow when you sit down to write a paper, you can't write it. You know you want to, and you can't figure out why you can't.

We are ambivalent about many things in our life. That is why it’s hard to reach goals we set. Psychoanalysis is specifically designed to discover the conflict that stops you from moving forward in a predictable way. Understanding how your mind developed as a child and how that affects you now can be critical to making changes. One can then retrain the mind. This is done through ensuring that the conflicting desires you may have get a chance to be heard, and then your conscious, cognitive, more adult mind can then be the in the driver's seat.

The next time you decide that you want to have all your friends over for a party, and hours before you have a knot in your stomach, just remind yourself that you are of two minds. You DO want the party. You DON’T want the party. It’s hard for all of us to wade through all the conflicting feelings to actually decide to have a good time. Nevertheless, it’s a good idea to try.

What is important in the individual's Past Is Not the Events Themselves, but the Individual's Perception of the Events and What Choices the Individual Is Making about that Perception Today.
James A. Kitchens.