Ready or Not!

In the field of developmental psychology we tend to hear the term readiness.  When our cognitive, emotional, and physical development syncs we have a certain ability ,or readiness, to grow and further develop. This concept can apply to our client’s psychosocial development, too.  With each session we assess how our clients are functioning in their lives, as well as, what demands their lives are putting on them. The studies of eustress and distress indicate that those people who are able to meet the needs and demands of their life, also, experience less distress. These studies also point out that the way we perceive life stressors can change the effect those stressors have on our mental and physical health. As mental health providers we may ask ourselves, How ready is this client to meet the demands of their life? Or perhaps, How ready is this client to look at life stressors in a different way? In more expressive modalities readiness may not be so important of a factor, as we acknowledge and accept that an individual learns what they need to learn, and will move in the direction that they need to move for the healing that they need in this moment. However, for most of us using insight oriented therapy or talk-therapy, we need to be aware of client readiness. Staying with the client, until they are ready, can be hard when we see the answer so clearly. Well-timed and thoughtful observations can plant seeds that need further development. The term readiness implies that not only is our client prepared for further growth, but also that they are willing. This type of readiness can be delicate, like pulling on a fishing line in a steady even-handed manner. To pull too quickly or forcefully can damage the relationship and even provoke further resistance. So much of what we do is subtle, even graceful, as we are dealing with the fragility of those we care for. Finding the line, and using our inner grace to guide our steady service, we can be there when even the most vulnerable of clients, has the readiness for change.

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