Sunday, August 8, 2010

Why "Center for Conscious Living"?

A valid question, since there are many businesses with similar names.
The concept of living consciously means slightly different things in different contexts, but to Dr. Lloyd, my co-founder, and I, it meant getting away from the idea that our customers were "patients". When this business was conceived, the idea was to teach people rather than to fix them. We wanted to offer skills and ideas that our clients could take with them and use for the rest of their lives. You, our customers, have been since this business opened, clients who pay for a service. That service is not "me doctor, you patient," but a collaborative process where you and I discuss the symptom or distress that has brought you to me and whatever history is necessary for me to understand it well. We then work together to formulate a plan using tools that I have learned to teach to you, for you to overcome that difficulty and maintain the improvement long-term. These tools must necessarily include some form of homework, as what you do when you are not in my office is as important as what you do when you are in it.
Now this is not to say that you learn this skill once and for all and that no one ever relapses or develops a related problem. In fact, a very wise man, Dr. David Burns, author of Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy , teaches that a relapse is actually a very good thing. If you get over your depression or headache and never relapse, how will you know what actually made it go away? If, however, you have a small relapse and make it go away AGAIN, then you are pretty certain that you have caused yourself to get better using your new skills, rather than that a remarkable coincidence had once occurred. Then you not only are once again rid of your original problem, you have the security of knowing that you have the tools to keep it away and tackle new problems that will certainly arise!
So, when I think of "Conscious Living" I am thinking of each client developing a new self-awareness that allows him or her the ability to get rid not only of the problem they first brought to me, but also to overcome later obstacles that life puts forth, and avoid some sorts of life problems altogether. I hope that each client who enters my office leaves one day very soon with new skills for tackling the mundane and not-so-mundane challenges of daily life.

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