Going Around in Circles
Some years ago I noticed that almost everyone I work with for a significant amount of time eventually says something like, "I feel like I'm going in circles...not making any progress." At first I found the comment disturbing, almost embarrassing. After all, isn't it my job to make sure there's always a sense of forward movement? I spent a good bit of time struggling with the fact that it was hard to maintain a consistent forward movement. Eventually, I noticed that there's a lot of circularity in life. Seasons come and go in a circular way...it's not like once we are done with winter we never have winter again. Looking at this more carefully, it became clear that there is going around in a circle and then there is going around in a circle. The kind of going in a circle that a top does is really pointless. It doesn't get anywhere. But, the kind of going in a circle that a screw does is very different. Each time a screw goes around it is in a slightly different place.
So, it has become important to remind myself and those I work with that circular movement is probably natural but that it doesn't necessarily mean we aren't getting somewhere. It's very helpful to notice the subtle ways in which this time I encounter the problem is different from the last time I encountered it. That's where the progress is located.
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Jake Thiessen, PhD
I've been working with couples for a very long time. And, I love it! This blog is my attempt to communicate some of the things I've learned over the past 40 years.