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Blazing or Burned Out?

Anna Lyn is an accomplished professional who loves her work. With plenty of friends and a satisfying career, she was nonetheless troubled by persistent and ruminative thoughts about being with a man. She described how she would rearrange her schedule if there was a possibility she might meet someone, abandoning her much needed time to herself on the whisper of a hope.

It’s easy to imagine where this conversation might have gone were we to approach it with a more traditional approach. Instead, Anna Lyn and I made sure we were on the same page about the work she was about to do. Collaboration is a bedrock component of AAIT.

Rocking between an exploration of the polarities of this ‘man thinking’ phenomena and the experience of ‘knowing I’m enough,’ Anna Lyn settled into a spacious freedom, an inner territory that illumined her countenance with its soft stillness. The ‘man thinking’ no longer felt like a problem.

Lovely, right? Not so fast. One aspect of the sheer beauty of what I’ve learned from Zivorad Slavinski is the potential of preventing the reappearance of problems through resolution of the problem in the future.

When asked, “Is it possible for that ‘man thinking’ to impose itself on you in the future AGAINST YOUR WILL?” In a glance, we both knew the answer. I mean, it’s one thing to have a beautiful experience and feel better about something. It’s a whole different ballgame if we want to rest easy that we have actually RESOLVED this issue.

Back to work. Within minutes, Anna Lyn was smiling with confident assurance that the ‘man thinking’ would no longer be a problem for her. We STILL had ten minutes left in our session.

With a twinkle in her eye and a sly smile, Anna Lyn reported in her next session that a MALE friend called and invited her to go out in the middle of the past week. Without hesitation, she graciously declined and returned to her book and tea, all cozy in her PJs enjoying her time alone.

I LOVE my work, more and more every single day. And, I totally get that for most of us, most sessions are not like the one I just described. They COULD be. They ARE for me and most of my students.

But for many of us, the accumulated stress of trying to help and not seeing ready change – ESPECIALLY in these speeded up times – contributes to burnout. It’s wearing to repeatedly feel hamstrung by the limitations of talk therapy to bring REAL relief. In some ways, I feel like I’m just getting started and I’ve been in practice since 1984! Burnout? Not even close, more like blazing!

After all, we got in this game to help people, really help them as best we can. One of the students in this year’s AAIT Fellowship Training group recently shared in our Inspired Agents of Transformation Facebook group about helping others:

“I wanted to my whole life – always interested in psychology, also struggled with my own mental health issues, and wanted to help others in that journey. Walked away when traditional therapy and mental health practice seemed so disenfranchising and ineffective. Discovering empowering, practical tools that bring tender human-ness as opposed to a clinical approach has me back in the game.” ~ Flo Paquet, MSW

What about you? Closer to burnout or blazing? What keeps you blazing?

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