Back to the Basics

Posted on February 24, 2023 by Rebecca Cola, MSW, LCSW

So many times, I hear from clients that they aren't (or someone close to them isn't) meeting their expectations. In most cases when expectations aren't met then there is usually great disappointment.  Disappointment can lead us down many dark paths and into some dark places. It's natural to venture to those places but we don't want to stay too long or get trapped there.  Often, continued disappointment keeps those who don't meet expectations in those places and when that happens that's when I grab my flashlight and my rope and yell out to them “Hey… It's time to go back to basics!”

To do this, a therapist uses a Strength Based approach to assist the client in remembering and defining the client's Core Values. An individual's (or couple’s, or family’s) Core Values are the highest priority that drives their behaviors and decisions. Core Value examples are Integrity, Respect, Love, Health, Knowledge, Happiness, Wealth, Responsibility, Balance, Trust, Empathy, Communication and Achievement. Once we know what the Core Values are then we can set the Standards. Standards are the level of quality in which we act, behave and live as we adhere to our Core Values. The higher the standard the higher the quality of our lives. 

So now visualize that we are standing at the bottom of a large mountain of our Core Values looking up at their Standards to maintain them. How do we get to them?  How do we follow and keep them? We do it through setting Expectations.  Unfortunately, we often set expectations way too high for ourselves or for those around us. When we set the Expectations too high, we start to see failure. When we don’t meet the Expectation, we can't reach the Standard, when we can’t reach the Standard, our Core Values become compromised and begin to crumble.  When we fail at Expectations, we feel disappointment and dissatisfaction. We feel defeated and often guilty.  When we continually don't meet high Expectations, we lose confidence in ourselves. We often feel ashamed and embarrassed, worse yet, we begin to feel that we are not enough and alone. 

That’s where talk therapy comes into play. The therapist shines the flashlight on how to lower expectations to reduce disappointment, then the therapist offers you a rope to let you know you are not alone. Therapy can assist by exploring Values clarification which is a technique in Cognitive-Behavioral Theory (CBT) that aims to help people understand their value systems. 

For more information on going “Back to the Basics” or to schedule a Values clarification session, contact Rebecca Cola, MSW, LCSW.

Connections Of Hope

Looking for help and support? Please contact Connections of Hope today. We are a team of dedicated therapists that provides professional mental health services to individuals and families in the community.  Our goal is to empower people to take control of their mental health and overall well-being. We offer a variety of treatments, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), EMDR and Trainspotting for trauma treatment, mindfulness-based interventions, and more. We also provide assessment and evaluation services for clients who need further clarification regarding their mental health diagnosis or need support in developing an effective treatment plan. 

Our therapists specialize in treating a variety of issues for families, parents, couples, kids, and teens such as:

  • Anxiety
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  • Trauma
  • Eating Disorders
  • Postpartum depression
  • Stress management
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  • Grief and Loss
  • Parenting skills, adolescent adjustments, career issues, and other life transitions.