Building Bridges

I’ve often thought of myself as a bridge-builder.

 

I like helping couples connect despite the great divides between themselves.  It is inevitable that gaps will exist around gender or personality style differences and without that bridge, without building a way to understand and explain what is going on, there is a risk that tragic misunderstandings can develop. For example, when there are differences in how often one person wants to have sex, clean the house, spend money, it can lead to escalating conflict.

 

In individual therapy, often the bridge that needs to be built is one to connect disparate parts of one’s own self.  Some of us have such strong “shoulda-woulda-coulda” parts that we lose touch with our authentic selves and the eventual outcome can be depression and anxiety. For example, the person who chooses to become a doctor because that is what the family expected despite truly wanting to become an artist or musician. 

 

Another type of bridge building that I am engaged in is with the person from a culturally different background.  These clients have been either born, raised or newly arrived in the United States, but their parents were raised in a very different culture.  As a result, the person has one foot in each culture.  There can be huge divides between their life experiences. Each struggles to hold on to their own beliefs while trying to maintain a mutual love and respect. I want the individual to educate me about their particular beliefs and standards so that I can be helpful at increasing the understanding between the generations. 

 

For me, whoever walks into my office, whether male/female, gay/straight, White, Black, Asian, Hispanic, religious, non-religious,  I approach each person as someone who wants and deserves to be understood by me, but more importantly, by themselves.  In that way, they can become their own bridge builder in their own relationships and build a more fulfilling life.