Recently I received a question (I answer questions each month via Good News for Eating Disorders Recovery, MentorCONNECT’s monthly community ezine) that struck me as one that is particularly relevant for mentoring teams.
Here is the question: I have been seeing my therapist for almost four years and it would devastate me to lose her. I have been able to open up and tell her things I have never ever been able to tell anyone before as I have so much trust in her. She is the first person to ever show me they care. Now I worry about the fact that I could lose her sometime too. I don’t think I would be able to open up to anyone else like I am able to with her. I am very afraid of losing her.
My response at the time I first received the question was to simply encourage the writer to focus on building her relationship with her therapist now, and all the while to remember that if she had the skills to build a trust-based connection with one supportive other in her life, she has the skills to do it as needed throughout her recovery journey.
But now it occurs to me that this is just Phase One of learning how to let supportive others into our lives to stay.
In Phase Two, it is time to branch out.
The best way to reduce the fear of losing a single person to whom we look for all of our support needs is to add to our team.
For instance, if the writer has a therapist, she might consider adding a dietitian and a mentor as well. This is actually a wonderful strategy because, due to her pre-existing connection with her therapist who is already trusted, she has a ready resource standing by in case it takes some time to locate additional support people who feel right, and she also has access to guidance should issues arise in her newer supportive connections.
So unlike that desperate feeling we get when the person we rely on is suddenly, unexpectedly unavailable to us, we are slowly building the inner strength and empowerment to a) add additional supportive persons to our team in case our primary source of support becomes unavailable, and b) learn in the process that we ourselves are a trustworthy source of self-support as well.
Today’s Takeaway: In reviewing your close friendships and relationships and (if needed) your treatment support team, where do you see areas where it may be time to branch out and add new faces and voices to your team?