Ashwood Therapy Blog

Taking A Risk

Have you ever found yourself telling a friend, colleague or family member that what they are considering doing is a “risky business”?  Perhaps you have been involved with a project recently where there was an element of risk – how did that make you feel?  I would argue that risk is an unavoidable part of living our lives and is very much present in our going about our daily routine, whether that be taking business decisions affecting your workforce, or simply crossing the busy road outside your house in a morning.

While some people may consider themselves very risk-averse, others seem to thrive on the danger associated with risky activities – bungee jumpers or sky-divers, for example, spring to mind.  I want to look here at the nature of risk, and also the danger of not being prepared to take risks when necessary.

In my counselling work, I have noticed how those who seem to benefit the most from attending therapy seem to be those who are prepared to seek out their courage to make changes in the way they do things, or the way they see things.  That is not to say that such clients arrive in the counselling space brim-full of confidence, ready to ‘eat challenges for breakfast’ and make radical alterations to every aspect of their lives.  Most people I encounter are nervous, hesitant and sceptical, especially in the early stages of our work together.

Looking at where they hope to get to in their therapy can be a useful exercise.  Once a ‘preferred future’ has been identified, work can begin on thinking how it would be best to get there.  At this stage, I sometimes draw up a list with a client of what they stand to gain from moving forwards, versus what they will lose when they leave some of their old situation behind.  To see things written down on a piece of paper can be very helpful in clearly laying out what the potential benefits will be, and what it could cost to realise them.  After all, opening a new door often means closing an old one.

Weighing up the benefits, and looking honestly at the price that will be paid can be a sobering experience, and often the road ahead is not guaranteed.  I have come across many times the mind-set that “well, I might not be happy where I am, but at least I know what it feels like to be ‘here’ ”.  When a client builds up self-belief through the counselling process, and learns that they are the best authority on their own experience, they can often see that with continued effort and perseverance, they can reach towards what it is they really want.  Once within their grasp, the price they have had to pay to get towards their goal is often deemed to be very much worth it.

I would not advocate reckless rushing into the unknown, and the throwing away of everything that makes us who we are, but what I would say is that avoiding risk and the natural process of change can lead to stagnation and the feeling of being ‘stuck’.  What I cannot tell clients when they start therapy is how they will feel when they conquer their own personal mountain, or about the beauty of the view from the top that can await them once they overcome what is in the way.  I have walked alongside many clients over the years who have learned to go forwards in full knowledge of the risks involved with embracing therapeutic movement.

If you are wondering whether it is ‘worth it’, perhaps you can appreciate that risk can be as present in trying to stay still as it is in moving forward.  What brave risks could you take today that may lead to a happier, more fulfilled you, tomorrow?

Rob Oglesby MBACP (Accred) B.A. (Hons) BSc | Ashwood Therapy

Ashwood Therapy provides a discreet, confidential and professional online counselling service by encrypted video call, live instant messaging and secure email.  More details, including tips on wellbeing and information on current counselling session pricing, can be found at www.ashwoodtherapy.com

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Taking A Risk | Ashwood Therapy Blog