Who Are You?
Author: Nathan Houck, M.S., Pre-Licensed Professional Counselor
Tell Me About Yourself
Who are you? Maybe this question is at the top of your mind. Maybe it is under the surface of things that are weighing on your mind. Whatever your relationship is to this question, it is likely the case that exploring this question will be helpful or informative for your journey.
If you are considering therapy, there are probably some aspects of your life that you would like to address or explore. Perhaps there is a specific behavior you want to change. Maybe you are seeking a deeper meaning in life or desire to cultivate happiness. Or now is the time to make some
moves in life, but you aren’t quite sure where to start. Whatever it is, you are the one coming to therapy. So, who is this you that seeks to address these things?
Does a clear answer come to mind? Or is the answer vague, a little muddy? Broad-brush strokes or detailed brush strokes? Any brush strokes at all?
If I asked you to tell me who you are, would you give me a biographical narrative of your history, identities, life experiences, and goals for the future? Is that narrative the entirety of who you are? Perhaps you would tell me about your personality, along with emotion and thought patterns you tend to experience. Would you describe yourself as a human being, a soul, or something else entirely? If we combine your answers to all these questions, does that give us the full picture of who you are?
Why So Many Questions
I am asking these questions about who you are because looking at yourself in this way might make it easier to address the things that are bringing you to therapy. Let’s look at some examples:
I might have a highly critical view of myself, a kind of internal voice that focuses on how I mess up or could do better. Investigating who I am might help me see that the negative internal voice is actually a past version of myself that continues to echo in my mind. Furthermore, I might see that my current self is aware of that voice and can actively choose how to respond to it.
For another example, I might not have a clear idea of who I am and thereby not have a sense of direction, which leads me to drinking more, engaging in unhealthy relationships, and spending time in activities that I don’t find fulfilling. Exploring who I am in therapy could help me recognize that these behaviors are distractions. Distractions from what? They are distracting me from starting the business I have always dreamed of because I am afraid of failure. Once I recognize these aspects of myself, I can start creating a plan to make my dream a reality.
And, for a final example, sometimes peeling back the layers of the idea we have of ourselves leads us to see ourselves in an entirely new way, which can be exciting, meaningful, and healing in its own right.
The Door is Open, Come On In
Therapy creates a space where you can explore questions about who you are in relation to what you want to get out of the process. And if questioning who you are feels overwhelming, that is okay – you are invited to come to therapy exactly as you are. Different folks might want to explore who they are to varying degrees. While one person might be comfortable with their current understanding of who they are and want to focus on certain behaviors, another person might want to put all their energy into self-exploration. Both approaches are welcome. If you bring goals and an openness to change, we will provide the support, knowledge, and space for the process to unfold!