It can be very easy as a therapist to get frustrated when you’ve been working with someone and you haven’t seen any real progress, even after week after week of offering several suggestions that you know would be helpful. Then one day, as sudden as a flip of a switch, something happens. This person has tried one of your suggestions and it has made a difference in some way, and it leads them towards the path of success for which you knew they were always capable. It has happened often enough that I can now recognize that period of usual frustration as part of the process itself, and I prefer to call it “stocking the dark”.
When I think of stocking the dark, I visualize this big, dark, and empty warehouse that has the potential to store anything. It all depends on what is needed. A good example is when a parent brings in a child because they’re struggling with controlling their anger and usually express it in a hurtful way. Every time I meet with them I offer another way of expressing how they feel in a healthier way that won’t hurt themselves or anyone else, but nothing happens. This is when I know I’m loading up the shelves with tools and techniques they can use for when they’re ready. Even though it’s dark in there and I might need a flashlight, I won’t get frustrated and I will keep stocking because I value its significance. I wouldn’t want them to be ready or the light be turned on and the shelves to be empty so that they wouldn’t know what to do. Instead, I want the whole warehouse fully stocked with skills they can use when the light switch is turned on and they can see all the things they now have access to use in order to start making positive changes in their lives.
As a parent, I know how frustrating it can be when this happens with your own children, and it seems that getting them to listen is impossible. Whether this is something you’re experiencing first hand with concerns in your own life or your patience has already been stretched too thin with someone close to you give STA’s intake specialists a call today at 201-488-6678 so that we can help stock the dark in your life.