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February 20, 2018

Pieces of the Puzzle

By Dr. Richard Boyum

When I work with clients/college students in a counseling situation, I often think of them trying to put together pieces of a very large puzzle. Part of my responsibility is to help them identify pieces of the puzzle and coach them in finding out where those pieces belong. But I also believer as a counselor that one of my responsibilities is to help clients/students understand that some of the pieces, that will fit into their puzzle, have not even been created. When and how that piece will be created is a function of time, aging, and other choices they make in their lives when a new piece emerges. Then can be put in its proper location, to help the individual define and understand their own life.

A second metaphor that I have recently been using deals with counseling about relationships. Often student/clients I work with began seeing each other when they were in high school, clearly the adolescent. After dating for a significant period of time, in which they truly have grown into a relationship, they may begin to grow out of a relationship. This is very different than breaking up. It is a function of maturing, having more experiences and more clearly defining and developing one's own identity. This normal sequence of events occurs when people become young adults, and the time zone of being a more mature adult and perhaps a time zone of being elderly. I suggest to my clients/students that they are in a period of their life, where they are moving from one time zone, adolescence, to another time zone, young adulthood, that this transition can make significant changes in their perceptions, understandings, wants, and desires. See if using this metaphor doesn't work as well for you.