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Straight From the Shrink

Jenna Behrens is a licensed professional counselor who has been practicing in the mental health field for seven years. She owns Behrens Psychotherapy Services, LLC which has four office locations around the Milwaukee area. She works with children, adolescents, families, and adults on a wide array of issues including depression, anxiety, ADHD, childhood behavioral disorders, adjustment disorders, stress and parenting.

Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Recently I have been witnessing, participating in, and reading a lot about this idea of getting out of your comfort zone. In therapy, it's something I talk with clients about regularly. Trying new things to get out of the emotional rut they are in or trying something new or that they've been avoiding as a type of exposure therapy to decrease their anxiety. This idea isn't new to me, but I began to wonder how often I actually do this. I am a pretty routine person. If you ask my husband, he would say I'm about 99% predictable. I always have been, even as a child. I like to be on time, I keep my word, I like a routine life, and having a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly plan. It feels good to me. I can't think of too many situations that I avoid due to anxiety, not to say that I never suffer from anxiety. I used to be incredibly anxious meeting with new clients especially if I felt they were intellectually superior to me. It was never a choice to avoid this because it wasn't an option for my practice to fail. So, I pushed through and dealt with whatever emotions came up. Eventually, I got over it. I realized that they were there to see me because what they had been doing hasn't been working so I must hold some information they don't have.

I have been reading "The Tools" by Stutz and Michels. They talk about this idea that to get out of our comfort zone, we have to get through the fear and the possibilities are endless. If we avoid the fear, we never get to the endless possibilities and we stay in our comfort zone and waste our life and potential. This made a lot of sense. When I talk with clients who are avoiding or anxious I always ask "What are you afraid of?" Sometimes the answer comes easily and sometimes we have to dig a little, but there is always fear. Fear of failure, rejection, judgement, etc.

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