Values are the guiding principles that inform our actions and decisions. They are what we hold dear and what motivates us in life. Identifying our values can be a powerful tool in therapy, helping us to understand ourselves better and work towards achieving our goals. At Constellations Counselling in Vancouver, BC, we believe in the importance of exploring a client’s values in therapy. In this post, we’ll discuss what values are, where they come from, and why identifying them is beneficial. We will also provide examples of values and ways you can begin identifying your own values.
What Are Values?
Values are beliefs or principles that guide our behavior and choices. They are what we consider to be important, worthwhile, and meaningful in life. Our values influence our thoughts, emotions, and actions, and they can be the foundation of our identity. Values can come from a variety of sources, including:
- Upbringing and Family: The values that were instilled in us during childhood by our family and community can continue to shape our beliefs and behaviors throughout our lives.
- Culture and Society: The values of the society and culture in which we live can also influence our own values and priorities.
- Life Experiences: Our values can be influenced by the experiences we have had, both positive and negative.
Examples of Values
Some common values include:
The Benefits of Identifying Values in Therapy
Identifying values in therapy can have a number of benefits, including:
- Greater self-awareness: Understanding our values can help us to better understand ourselves and our motivations.
- More meaningful goals: By identifying our values, we can set goals that align with what is truly important to us, leading to a greater sense of fulfillment.
- Increased motivation: When our goals align with our values, we are more likely to feel motivated to work towards them.
- Better decision-making: Knowing our values can help us to make decisions that are in line with what is truly important to us, rather than simply following what others expect of us.
- Increased resilience: Having a strong sense of our values can help us to weather difficult times and bounce back from adversity.
Identifying Your Values
Identifying your values can be a process that takes time and reflection. Here are some steps you can take to begin identifying your own values:
- Reflect on what matters to you. Take some time to think about the moments when you felt most fulfilled and satisfied in life, and the values that were being honored during those times. What brings you joy, fulfillment, and meaning? What do you prioritize in your life?
- Think about what you want to be remembered for. What values are important to you in terms of your legacy? Reflect on past experiences that were particularly meaningful or impactful for you. What values were present in those experiences?
- Consider the people who inspire you. Think about the people you admire and respect. What values do they embody that you also aspire to embody?
- Observe your emotions. Pay attention to the emotions that arise in different situations, especially when you feel angry or upset. These emotions may indicate a violation of your values. For example, if witnessing an injustice makes you angry, it could indicate a strong value of fairness or justice.
The Benefits of Identifying Your Values
Identifying your values can be an incredibly powerful tool in therapy. Here are some of the benefits of identifying your values:
- Clarifies Your Priorities: Identifying your values can help you clarify your priorities in life and make decisions that align with those priorities. For example, if a person values family, they may prioritize spending time with loved ones over working long hours at their job. By recognizing this value, they can make decisions that allow them to honor it and lead a more fulfilling life.
- Gives You Direction: Knowing your values can provide a sense of direction and purpose in your life. It can help guide your decision-making and provide motivation for achieving your goals. For example, if someone values creativity, they may prioritize pursuing a career in the arts or set aside time each day to engage in creative hobbies. This can provide a sense of fulfillment and purpose, as they are aligning their actions with their values.
- Increases Self-Awareness: Identifying your values can increase self-awareness and provide insight into your motivations, beliefs, and behaviors. For example, a person who values honesty may become more aware of their tendency to lie or exaggerate in certain situations and be motivated to change that behavior.
- Promotes Authenticity: Living in alignment with your values can increase self-esteem and self-worth. When you prioritize and live according to your values, you demonstrate to yourself and others that you are capable of making choices that are important to you, which can contribute to a sense of accomplishment and confidence.
- Helps You Overcome Obstacles: Knowing your values can help you overcome obstacles and stay motivated during difficult times. For example, if your value is perseverance, then it can help you stay motivated to overcome challenges and obstacles that may come your way.
Incorporating Values into Therapy
Once you’ve identified your values, your counsellor can help you incorporate them into your therapeutic goals and treatment plan. For example, if one of your values is creativity, your counsellor may suggest incorporating art therapy into your treatment plan. If one of your values is family, your counsellor may suggest involving your family in therapy sessions. Exploring values can also help in setting boundaries, identifying patterns of behavior, and developing coping strategies for challenging situations. For highly sensitive people, exploring values can be a powerful way to increase self-awareness and promote self-care.
Identifying values can be a challenging process, particularly for those who have experienced trauma or have suppressed their emotions. Highly sensitive people, in particular, may struggle with prioritizing their own needs or feeling self-doubt. However, at Constellations Counselling, we understand the importance of identifying values and provide a supportive space to do so. Our compassionate counsellors work with clients to help them uncover their values in a way that feels authentic and meaningful.
Exploring values is a crucial aspect of therapy as it can help you clarify your priorities, provide direction, increase self-awareness, promote authenticity, and help overcome obstacles. Our Vancouver-based counselling services offer support to individuals who want to explore their values further. We recognize that this process may be challenging, and our team is here to guide and support clients throughout their therapeutic journey.
If you’re interested in learning more about how identifying your values can benefit your mental and emotional health, reach out to us at Constellations Counselling. We offer a safe and supportive space for clients to explore their values and other important aspects of therapy. Contact us today with any questions or if you’re ready to take the first step toward change.