a healing path. I may not currently be the one “identified” but
I am nonetheless a critical component of a system in need of
change. In fact, I needed to get myself into a therapeutic
relationship and take my rightful place as the “identified
client.” As I admitted my own need for help and embraced the
hard work of change, the benefits spilled out onto the whole
family. When I am healthier, those I am in relationship are also
At one point in our family’s journey and after several
of our children had been in and out of therapy at different
points along the way, my husband looked at me and said,
“Looks like we are the only two left in therapy.” I wonder how
the story might have twisted and what pain might have been
avoided if we had been the first to go there rather than the last.
When relationships become difficult, a first step
forward is to look honestly at our role in any troubling family
or life dynamic. Most of us benefit from exploring such
matters in the company of a counselor or therapist. Despite
the message that I took in from many Christians that needing
help of this sort demonstrates some type of character flaw or
lack of faith, my experience has been quite the opposite. It is
both a gift and a privilege to be in such a therapeutic
relationship. It takes great strength, honesty, and a letting go
of less than functional coping mechanisms to approach my
specific role in any challenging situation or relationship.
Professionals have supported me as I come to terms with many
uncomfortable and painful truths about myself and those I
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