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From The Counseling Center: Change is Hard

By Jennifer Naparstek Klein, Psy.D., Clinical Director of The Counseling Center

Feb. 7, 2024: Change is hard—no doubt about it! It is often considerably easier to see how we’d like others to change than to authentically acknowledge how we might shift our behavior or rethink our contribution to patterns of behavior that hold us back. 

Some change is foisted upon us and makes us unbearably sad, like the death of loved ones.  Some change is forced upon us because people we love need to grow, and their lives take them further away, like a child launching to college.  Difficult change is often decided by others, like the loss of a job.  And some change is just part of the aging process, which is also sometimes hard to accept!

When considering changes you’d like to see in your life, or adjusting to changes imposed upon you, especially changes in your relationships, you might ask questions that have the potential of opening up new ways of looking at the situation.

First, you might ask: What kind of change can I make that will benefit the people I love? By first focusing your attention on the people important to you, rather than on yourself, you might immediately see the situation differently.  Your perspective might widen and new ideas come to you.

Then ask: What kind of change can I make that will benefit myself? By asking this question, change becomes not something you “must do” because of internal and external pressures but something you want to do because you will enjoy the rewards.

As you consider more deeply, you might ask: If I let go of something or someone in my life whom I’ve loved, what am I most afraid of losing?  Often, identifying our fears is the first step in taming them.  Perhaps you’ll find that what you’re afraid of losing is something which had value in the past but has less value now.  Or that in a real way, what you valued has already been lost to you.  However painful these realizations, they can often help illuminate a way forward.

When we cling to relationships that are having a negative impact on us, it can help to ask: If I let go of something or someone in my life that does harm to me, what will I be sacrificing?  Naming what you’ll be giving up may make it easier to let it go.

Change often brings losses as well as benefits.  If you anticipate the loss of something that will inevitably come with the change you’re contemplating, you might ask: Can I make up in some way for what I will lose if I make this change?  Are there people or experiences that can fill the hole left behind?

Sometimes change involves a loss of power.  For example, you might be reluctant to leave a job that has become toxic because you don’t want to lose the income, authority, and prestige that come with it.  Or you might have power over someone in a relationship that is no longer serving your needs; a desire to retain that power makes you reluctant to give up the relationship. In that case you might seek clarity by asking: What power might I lose if I give up my authority in this situation?  What freedom might I gain?

Often making change requires summoning courage and stepping into the discomfort of risk-taking.  To keep your eye on the prize, you might ask: What power, what reward might I gain if I step forward into discomfort or risk?

Finally, everyone can use a little help along the way. So ask: Where can I find guidance, help, expertise, or education to help me make or adjust to this specific change?  Keep a notebook during the process and refer back to it to remind you of the progress you’ve made and identify next steps to take.

Change is hard, whether you initiate it or it’s foisted upon you, but taking time to ask the right questions and carefully consider the answers can be first steps that will ultimately lead you in rewarding new directions.


The Counseling Center in Bronxville offers therapy for individuals, couples, and families, both in person and through telehealth (online or by phone). Please feel free to reach out if we can help, by calling Dr. Jennifer Klein, 914 793, 3388. For more information on The Counseling Center, please visit our website at https://counselingcenter.org/.



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The Maxwell Institute of St. Vincent's Westchester offers outpatient chemical dependency treatment and education services for adults, adolescents and their families. Treatment includes individual and group psychotherapy, couples counseling, and psychiatric evaluation and medication management when indicated. The Institute welcomes individuals and family members who are experiencing marital and/or work-related distress as a result of alcoholism and other forms of chemical dependency.

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Since 1994, Dr. Kanganis and Dr. Minoli of Bronxville Dental Care have been leaders in the dental community, providing exceptional dentistry to generations of Bronxville families. They have a long history of excellence and have earned a reputation built on trust, compassion, and dedication. Drs. Kanganis and Minoli believe in a conservative, holistic, and minimally invasive approach to dentistry. Bronxville Dental Care welcomes patients of all ages and offers a comprehensive range of services, including cosmetic and restorative dentistry, implants, and pediatric dentistry. Dr. Kanganis especially loves treating children. As a mother herself of two recent Bronxville High School grads, she understands the importance of helping children to feel comfortable during their visits, while earning their trust and teaching them to become active participants in their oral health.

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In July 2014, Lawrence Hospital and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital established a new relationship aimed at enhancing care, improving access and lowering health care costs for residents of Bronxville and surrounding communities in Westchester County. Lawrence was renamed NewYork-Presbyterian Lawrence Hospital.

Lawrence Hospital Center was founded in 1909 and is a 291-bed acute care facility with over 1100 employees and 400 physicians. It provides emergency care to approximately 35,000 individuals every year.   It became a designated New York State Stroke Center in 2006.  Its physicians provide expertise in virtually every area of medical specialty and include over 100 primary care physicians. And, Lawrence delivers about 2000 babies every year in the home-like setting of newly designed Labor and Delivery recovery rooms.

Outpatient services include diagnostic testing and laboratory services, ambulatory surgery options, and rehabilitation and sports medicine services. The Hospital has a Women`s Imaging Center where female patients receive diagnostic services in a private setting. Outpatient physical therapy, lymphedema therapy, speech and occupational therapy services are provided both on-site at the Hospital and at Lawrence`s satellite center, The Center for Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine, in Scarsdale.

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