Never Too Late
by Catherine Findley, LCSW
As a therapist at CJFS, I have the privilege of walking alongside my clients through their deepest struggles. Young folks think going to counseling is perfectly normal; it’s even fashionable in some circles. Older people can remember when counseling was considered the domain of “crazy people” or those with a serious mental illness. Not so today. People of all ages, especially seniors, are asking themselves “why be miserable?” when professionals can support me to make changes for the better.
I see older adults who have longstanding emotional wounds that continue to fester because they were never addressed. It is never too late. Together, we lance the wound and bring it to the surface. By looking at old issues in a new light, it’s often possible to let go of the hurt and be free of the pain. In the process, old wounds become faint scars, barely visible and no longer actively painful.
I also see older clients who for years have allowed others to dictate their life choices. They are not living the lives they want, and they are unhappy. In these cases, the work of therapy is to identify the client’s own desires, opinions and feelings. We all must learn to establish our own “fences,” or boundaries, to ensure that the choices we make in life are truly ours and not the reflection of other people’s desires. Knowing where we stop and start as a person and protecting and honoring that sacred space is a step toward better mental health.
Some clients have problems in their relationships; perhaps they have spent years engaged in an unhealthy and conflicted pattern with a spouse, a parent or their children. Together, we figure out ways to change those patterns. Because it generally “takes two to tango,” when one person stops participating in the dance, things change for the better.
If life has worn you down, we can work together to rebuild. I help people alter the thought patterns and behaviors that affect their quality of life. One of the many rewarding aspects of working with older adults is that as we age, our goals tend to be clearer. Older clients realize their time is limited, precious and not to be wasted.