Respecting the psychological costs of change
Symptoms are not aws or mistakes. They are alternative solutions when healthy growth is blocked. They are creative patches. As such, symptoms serve important functions for patients. The longer the symptoms have been in place, the more functions (or the greater the importance of the functions) they are likely to be serving. Patients sense implicitly that relinquishing symptoms is not a matter to be taken lightly. Treatment may cost them something that has been important to their well-being. They need assurance that we understand and respect the adaptive value of their symptoms and that we are mindful that a careful treatment plan must provide substitute ways to ful ll the functions their symptoms provided.