Recently, I heard the term “transformational change” applied to businesses and how they grow. And then shortly after, I heard someone use the same term applied to spiritual change. To me, “transformational change” sounds like the growth I see in patients who benefit most from their mental health care. The change does not happen right away. At first, people experience the alleviation of symptoms and the growth of new coping skills. Over time, the momentum of change builds into a new relationship of that person with the world around him and a new relationship with himself. The end result is that he is better than his baseline, before his mental health problems began.
Transformational change also sounds like what occurs in marriage counseling, and in family counseling. Through therapy, relationships are remade.
That term “transformational change” has been popping into my mind this week, coinciding with the solar eclipse. As people struggle individually and as a collective, many seem to imagine that the eclipse will bring hope in a time of hopelessness. People are traveling from around the nation to gather and witness the total eclipse in the heartland. A recent article in Time touted today’s eclipse as “a gift to our divided nation.” The article speaks of American’s profound discontent, hoping the event might bring people of differences together.
Perhaps the symbolism of the event will be a source of hope, not just for people who feel that we are divided from each other, but also for people who feel broken inside and want to heal. Maybe the eclipse will propel some people forward, either in relationship to each other, or perhaps in relationship to themselves.
I hope so.
People need more than simple relief of symptoms, they need to grow. They need to become new in order to truly heal.
STUCK in the Sick Role: How Illness Becomes and Identity