She knew I had been hurt but just couldn't take on the time and emotional work of helping me understand that she needed to prioritize taking care of herself. Her rejection really had nothing to do with me and everything to do with surviving her circumstances. That our friendship has been reestablished confirms her explanation--and shows me the I'm unlikable story I run is not always true. This happens to all of us, and it's always hard to believe that it's not about you, particularly if you have repeated experiences. When I spoke with Mike by phone before he came to see me for his first therapy appointment, he told me he was feeling great about the progress he was making in his career. He had just graduated from a top university and landed his first job, and he was living on his own. But, as he said with restraint, in an attempt to cover his disappointment, I'm not having much success in the relationship department. I've never been in a real relationship, and I can't figure out why! During Mike's first sessions, he would often stress, I've worked so hard my whole life! I got into my dream college, and I have a great job now, but I'm feeling more lonely than ever. And when I go on Facearticle, Instagram, and Snapchat and see pictures of my friends with their boyfriends and girlfriends, I can't help asking myself, why can't I be in a relationship too? Mike continued, I've even tried Tinder and Bumble with zero luck. I've heard stories like Mike's many times. Lots of the young adults I see in my practice say the same thing: I've worked hard my whole life, got into a great college, landed a good job, but my relationships are not clicking. It gave an opportunity to discern the process of therapy, particularly in its minute and detailed aspects. Perhaps most important of all, it helped counselors to recognize that interviews were not just talk, but highly sensitive indicators of cause and effect in human relationships. A casual interpretive remark by the counselor might be demonstrated to have an effect in blocking communication, not only at the time, but two or three interviews later. Thus counselors learned significantly from their own experience, often in spite of, rather than because of, the teaching methods of the course. SOMESIGNIFICANTTRENDS INTRAININGTHERAPISTS In the years that have elapsed since the course just described, the writer has been aware of certain directions which have been important in the training programs which have evolved out of this early effort.

These trends may be summarized here. Their detailed implementation will be evident in a later section of the article. There has been a steady trend away from technique, a trend which focuses upon the attitudinal orientation of the counselor. It has become apparent that the most important goal to be achieved is that the student should clarify and understand his own basic relationship to people, and the attitudinal and philosophical concomitants of that relationship. All I can say is it's helpful to push through it. Sometimes the stories we choose to believe about ourselves aren't true. Other useful responses from my former friends helped reinforce the idea that the friendships didn't persist because of a mismatch of needs, not because of my inadequacy. And keep in mind that fearlessness isn't a good thing. Your fear may be accurately identifying that a situation isn't safe for you. For example, you may never feel comfortable meeting with your social worker. Perhaps they're homophobic and have the power to take your kids away from you. Knowing that, you can see the basis for your fear and be thoughtful about how you can best protect yourself in an unfair situation. TRUST YOURSELF True healing grows out of a deep sense of self-trust. So what's keeping Mike and others like him from making meaningful personal connections? It is the work that's involved in building emotional ties that is a mystery to them, and that work is where Mike and I focused our energy. In our sessions, I observed that Mike often used texting as his main means of communicating with someone he was interested in, and he rarely called anyone, even his friends. It hadn't occurred to him that the ways he was communicating with others might be as important as what he was communicating. The invention of apps, social media, and various dating platforms has significantly altered the ways in which people socialize, meet, date, and develop the relationships that later turn into long-term committed ones. More and more I hear from the single adults I treat just how difficult it is to forge relationships in the digital age.

At these times, I find myself reflecting back on how people met before the Internet and complementary technologies evolved. For me, that time was from around the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s. In those days, people connected through friendships, in classes, or at social gatherings like parties or religious or community events. Now, in the digital age, it's more common for people to meet online or through a dating app than in person. Therefore the first step in training client-centered therapists has been to drop all concern as to the orientation with which the student will emerge. The basic attitude must be genuine. If his genuine attitudes lead him in the direction of some other orientation, well and good. The purpose of training is increasingly to train therapists, not a particular brand of therapists. To put it in another way, the present point of view is that no student can or should be trained to become a client-centered therapist. If the attitudes he discovers within himself, if the hypotheses which in his experience are effective in dealing with people, happen to coincide in important ways with the client-centered orientation, then that is an interesting indication of the generality of those experiences, but no more. It is far more important that he be true to his own experience than that he should coincide with any known therapeutic orientation. The basic reliance is upon the capacity of the student-counselor to develop himself into an effective therapist. A second trend is to place stress upon techniques specifically as an implementation of attitudes. Once the student has clarified his own attitudes toward people, then a detailed consideration of the ways in which he and others operate in the therapeutic interview is highly fruitful. In order to step out of being hitched to our fear or to others' ideas of ourselves, outside measures of what's acceptable, we need to trust ourselves and support each other in seeing our intrinsic value. Most people feel they are imposters. Our fear is that somebody is going to find out. We'll be exposed. That openness is frightening for so many of us. We are often not socialized, or taught, to be vulnerable.

The threat of being exposed as imposters keeps us afraid. Mindfulness and compassion--more on these later--allow us to, over and over again, recognize when the imposter fear comes up and to sit with it. We investigate and get in touch with our vulnerability. Odds are you'll discover that what you really need is to feel your intrinsic value. Eventually, Mike uncovered the mysteries of how to build relationships without only relying on technology. Although this was challenging for him, through overcoming his stress about in-person encounters and talking on the phone, (after all, he didn't have much experience), Mike went on to form relationships that nurtured him, and he eventually started dating someone he really liked. Most importantly, Mike learned how to talk to people and how to be in the presence of others without a screen by developing the ability to have emotionally intimate relationships. Let's now focus on the steps necessary for developing emotional intimacy so you too can have satisfying relationships in the digital age. Emotional Intimacy Is Key to Building Genuine Relationships How emotionally intimate are your relationships? Measure yourself using the Emotional Intimacy Scale, developed by researchers Vaughn G. Sinclair and Sharon W. Write down a list of all the people you consider to be most important to you. Next to each name, jot down how much (rarely, a little bit, a moderate amount, quite a bit, a great deal of the time) you feel the following regarding each one. New light is thrown on his attitudes by observing the operations he uses in therapy, and new ways of behaving are perceived as he thinks more deeply about his attitudes. Another trend is to give the student an experience of therapy within himself. This can be done in part through the way in which courses are taught and in part through the way the student is given supervisory help on his cases. The most direct route, of course, is for the student to undergo therapy himself, and a steadily increasing proportion of student counselors have been availing themselves of this opportunity. The purpose of this therapeutic experience is perceived a little differently than in other orientations. It is not expected that personal therapy will permanently remove all likelihood of conflict in the therapist.

Nor is it felt that therapy will permanently rule out the possibility that his own personal needs may interfere with his work as a therapist. He may later need and desire further personal help in relation to some case with which he is dealing. But personal therapy may be counted upon to sensitize him to the kind of attitudes and feelings the client is experiencing, and may make him empathic at a deeper and more significant level. A fourth trend is merely a confirmation and extension of the thinking which has dominated from the first. BRINGING IT HOME Fear is not an enemy to be conquered. It is a normal and healthy response to potential threats. Treat it as a friend who intends to keep you safe. You can harness the wisdom in fear and make sure that it doesn't unnecessarily take you over. Sometimes you'll find that fear alerts you to potential danger. Learning to distinguish real threats from unlikely ones is helpful in ensuring fear and anxiety don't disrupt your well-being. And increasing your sense of agency goes a long way to helping you mitigate the potential damage fear exerts. Sometimes you'll find that running into your fears head-on can transform those fears into something beautiful and nourishing. This article is a direct testament to me jumping into my fears and coming out stronger. Be honest, and try not to judge yourself or your loved ones. There is always room for growth. There will be suggestions throughout this article for how to deepen your relationships with others and, most importantly, yourself! They accept me for who I am. I can openly share my deepest thoughts and feelings with them. They care deeply for me.