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I came across this unique business card recently and it struck me as a great message for this New Year. For those of you who are not sure what “Ctrl-Alt-Delete” means, it is the three keys you press on a PC to reboot it. It is used when your computer gets stuck or frozen and you have no choice but to restart. Nine out of ten times it solves the issue by clearing the local memory and lets you start over. It is not without ramifications as any unsaved work will be deleted, but lets you get back to work where before your computer was just an expensive electronic brick.

I think this is a wonderful analogy for the New Year. For many, New Years’ is a time that we reflect on the past year and what we want to accomplish, change and make better this upcoming year. We make promises and resolutions for the new year and we are looking to start fresh. In many ways we are “rebooting” for the year ahead. This rebooting can create a sense of hope, purpose and excitement for the new year.

In therapeutic work, there is also value in rebooting. While there are different therapeutic styles and modalities, often part of the therapists responsibilities is helping our clients get unstuck. Often a client will perseverate on negative aspects of their past that they feel will never change. They can’t see a positive future and do not feel they have any ability to effect change. They are stuck. It is the therapists job to work with them to effect this change and we have various therapeutic tools at our disposal. However, sometimes they just need a “reboot.”

They need to know that things can change, that they can effect that change and that the bleak future they see can be replaced with one filled with hope, purpose and excitement. This can begin with a “reboot” in the form of the first day of therapy and a commitment to change. This could be at the start of the New Year with its built in fresh start. Either way, making a conscious decision to focus on positive change with practical and realistic steps to get there, while at the same time shifting focus away from negative aspects of ones past is a reboot that can help get that fresh start.

Of course, the idea of a reboot for the New Year and in therapy is not the key to happiness and therapeutic success, but like the computer it is the first step to being able to begin working again. I want to wish all you a Happy New Year filled with personal joy, health and meaning. Happy New Year!

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