January 16, 2023
Can "Corporate Me" and "Authentic Me" Coexist?

Restoring in this client’s case was about helping her return to her essence, her passions. Gradually our conversations have turned from what to do about anxiety and more towards its root. Where or what is causing the anxiety. She has had some insights lately about her need for security and safety and therefore law school was the “logical” answer. And now that she has climbed the corporate ladder and has seniority, she is able to recognize that there is something missing …

A client came into counseling concerned about significant anxiety which was disrupting all aspects of her life. She is an attorney, and the anxiety was beginning to spill over into her workday. She also referred to herself as “unlucky” with dating. Her relationships with men were dissatisfying. At 38 she felt completely lost.

When she returned with her homework about what she wanted to see different in herself, she seemed even more anxious. She had struggled with the question, looking for the “right” answer. All she could say was that she wanted to feel more relaxed. She couldn’t define stressed or relaxed; just “felt stressed” all the time. Helping her define what each state felt like across the 4 continuums: physical, emotional, cognitive, and spiritual was key in helping her ground herself. Anxiety is often about the thoughts in our head that we don’t tune into – the self-judgment, the negativity, the fear. We tend to only react to the physical sensations that happen in the body. Helping her slow down her thinking allowed her to start the hard part: the asking her Self the hard questions. Who is she? Who is she now? What’s important to her now? (vs. 5, 10 years ago) What does she want vs. need?

This is the beginning of the 4 R’s, my framework for restoring emotional stability. Restoring in this client’s case was about helping her return to her essence, her passions. Gradually our conversations have turned from what to do about anxiety and more towards its root. Where or what is causing the anxiety. She has had some insights lately about her need for security and safety and therefore law school was the “logical” answer. And now that she has climbed the corporate ladder and has seniority, she is able to recognize that there is something missing …

We are currently discussing this fork in the road: being an attorney gives her financial security, independence and prestige/status. But it also gives her anxiety and dissatisfaction. The true part of therapy can start here – the questions about authenticity. Who IS she and who does she WANT to be? Her story continues…

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