Frankie Says Relax
Besides doing an assessment based on the presenting problem in my initial appointments with new clients, I’ve begun to assess for how does this person or couple relax. So I ask “What do you do to relax?” And I hear common answers like “Exercise” or “Watch movies or shows” or “Play video games.” I hate to break this to you, but none of those things actually help you RELAX.
Exercise gives you a temporary rush of endorphins (i.e. make you feel good and that probably has a secondary sexual benefit when it comes to your self-esteem and body image) but it can also make you feel fatigued - or as a client recently described it, “spent.” And watching movies and shows or playing video games distracts us, takes our mind off other things, and is a bit like numbing ourselves. When I describe that relaxed is a state of feeling calm (vs. tense), alert (vs. distracted or numb), and awake and energized (vs. tired), many of my clients sheepishly admit “Yeah, I don’t really have that feeling regularly.” Some clients are even courageous enough to confess “I don’t really know what that feeling is.” Boy am I glad my clients are this honest; it tells me precisely where we need to focus our efforts.
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