The most common type of resistance to therapy is running; running so fast that you run yourself out of therapy. Many of us suffer from high anxiety and one way to deal with that is to stay over-busy in order to avoid our underlying difficult feelings (fear, depression, unmet needs, etc.). So we run from text to text, activity to activity, phone call to phone call, lists, over-work and addictions. As we run, we lose contact with our authentic selves and our unhealthy habits take over.
Therapy interrupts that process – so we also run from that moment of stopping, facing and changing. Like a hamster on the wheel of life, the speed makes us feel in control so we keep spinning. Underneath, we are out of control, scared and stuck. As therapists, we must confront that resistance or the wheel keeps spinning and the client may run themselves to the ground, which forces them to stop in a destructive way.
It’s better to stop running consciously than to risk creating more serious damage. Facing what drives us lets us ease up on the gas peddle and find some space to think, feel and change old habits. This space allows us to look deeply at how our running affects our relationships, our creativity, and our sense of satisfaction. Our work in therapy can help us see how we are running, and can keep us from letting the spinning flip us upside down and out of the constructive therapeutic container we have created for growth and change.