Therapy Blog for Orem, Spanish Fork & South Jordan

Individual Therapy Tip – Outdated Functions

individual therapy, counselor, utah therapistDo you ever wonder why you do certain things or why others do what they do? Maybe what you do doesn’t make sense to you. Or, maybe what others do doesn’t make sense either. As a therapist providing individual therapy, let me share with you what I have learned from clients over the years. 


Some of your individual and relationship behaviors are a product of what needed to happen in the past. But, at some point, the need for that behavior stopped, but the behavior didn’t. You kept doing it because you were used to it, didn’t know any other way, etc. At this point, it became an ‘outdated function’. 


Emotional problems or relationship issues are full of these types of behaviors. Marriage problems seem to only get worse with them. 


What Is an Outdated Function?


An outdated function is a behavior or sequence of behaviors that once served a purpose, but isn’t serving that purpose anymore. 


Recognizing Your Own Outdated Functions


There are two types of outdated functions that I want to mention here. The first is a product of your own experience. The second is a product of someone else’s experience. 


First – outdated functions stemming from your own experiences. 


A classic example of this is after being cheated on in a relationship. When your partner cheated on you, you felt unsafe. You had to check your partner’s phone constantly to make sure he wasn’t still cheating. However, in your new relationships, you still constantly check your partner’s phone to make sure they are being faithful to you. 


Now, the hurt you felt after being cheated on caused you to check your partner’s phone in the first place. You didn’t want them to continue to cheat, so you had to make sure they weren’t cheating by checking on them. After that relationship ended, however, you still check your new partner’s phone. You are worried they will cheat on you even though they never have shown signs. At some point, checking your partner’s phone served a purpose because it told you of relationship danger. But to continue to do that in a current relationship when that isn’t an issue is something that doesn’t serve a purpose any longer. This is an outdated function coming from your own experience. 


Second – outdated functions stemming from other’s experiences.


These are the ones that get passed down to you without you really knowing. And, these are the ones you pass down to your children without really knowing. 


For example, when I was in school I learned about a newly wedded girl’s approach to Thanksgiving. When she cut the turkey in half to cook it her new husband questioned her. He asked why she would do that. She responded, ‘Because that’s the way you cook a turkey’. But, after thinking more and talking with her husband, she realized that that might not be the way to cook a turkey. This is just what she learned to do from her mom growing up. So, she called her mother to ask about it. 


Her mother told her that their oven was too small to fit a whole turkey in it, so they had to cut it in half. Cutting the turkey in half served a purpose for this girl’s mother at one point. But, when the girl moved out, got married and got a bigger oven, the practice wasn’t warranted. The girl continued to do it though and it became an outdated function stemming from someone else’s experience. 


What To Do With Your Outdated Functions


First, recognize that you have them and look for as many as you can find. You aren’t trying to blame anyone or justify yourself. Rather, you are trying to see them so you can do something about them. Second, talk about them with someone you trust. Let them be a part of understanding you and helping you understand yourself. Third, have the courage to try something new. Develop a new way to relate to others, for example. Forth, consider individual therapy. 


Schedule an individual therapy session with a counselor near you who can help you recognize your outdated functions and fix them. We have offices in Spanish Fork, Orem, South Jordan, and American Fork.


Written by Triston Morgan, PhD., Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

Utah Therapy


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