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February 20, 2018

Saving For The Future

By Dr. Richard Boyum

There are times as a counselor when I see a client so bogged down in the pain and stresses of the moment that they forget about their dreams, their hopes, and their aspirations. As a psychologist/counselor I think it is extremely important for clients to be able to hold onto some component of their life that is yet to come. I have a particular exercise that I use that I have found very hopeful with the population of college students that I work with. I ask a client whether or not they someday hope to travel. The answer is inevitably "Yes". I then take out a box of coins that I have collected from all over the world. I ask the client to close their eyes, to reach into the box and pull out a coin that seems right to them. I ask them then to identify the country from which it came and spend it. In almost all cases there is a strong emotional response from the client. My experience as a clinician has led me to believe that this is a way of connecting to the hopes and dreams they have, but may have lost. The coin from another land is somehting that they can look forward to in their minds. I know that there will be a time that will be better in which they will once again be enjoying some of what life has to offer, by taking the coin the client begins to rebuild their belief in a positive future. I believe that this technique can help someone work through some of the overwhelming and painful experiences that are occurring in someone’s immediate present. Borrowing from one's dreams rather than losing them is an acceptable therapeutic technique. See if this works for your clients.