Who Really Has Your Back: Why Accountability Matters

As a family therapist, I recognize that relationships are a huge factor in an individuals life. If one of our important relationships are out of whack we tend to feel a little off balanced until we are able to resolve the issue within that important relationship. We accept that relationships are needed for support and connection.   An article I recently read stated that family therapists tend to view people not as individuals, but as a part of a system, like the working parts of a machine. This is a good visual to explain that we all have a role, we all play a part. So, where does accountability come into play?

Let’s first let’s look at the various names accountability partners go by in everyday life; fitness has a workout partner, the military has a battle buddy, the government even has those three branches that are supposed to have checks and balances…let’s not finish that statement. From a family therapist point of view, we need people to help hold us accountable. Why is this so hard to do in practical terms? When struggling or entering into a new phase of life why don’t we tap into the resources of an accountability partner?

Benefits vs Risks- As with anything, we want to weigh the benefits and risks. What are the benefits of having an accountability partner?

  1. They can help you to define and clarify your goals- But What Are You Doing? outlines how to create goals. An accountability partner can help with the development of the goals, particularly if this person is a professional in the field that you are venturing into.
  2. An accountability partner can be real with you about your progress- This is important for so many reasons. An accountability partner will be your objective processor. People that are closest to us would rather preserve the relationship then tell you that you are sucking it up!
  3. An accountability partner will encourage you to show up! Let’s face it, we’re not perfect! We all have had times when our bed has held us hostage and we would much rather stay in bed and forgo the real world. The benefit of the accountability partner is that showing up will be easier than the guilt of being a flake.
  4. An accountability partner will celebrate your victories with you, no matter how small. – One of the best things I love about therapy is being able to help my clients identify their victories. Seriously, I become their biggest cheerleader. The beauty in your accountability partner pointing our victories is that sometimes they are able to point out victories that you have not noticed yourself. If you have a hard time accepting compliments, no worries, I’ll have a post for you coming soon!

We’ve covered the benefits of an accountability partner, what about the risks?- The accountability partner cannot hold you accountable if you don’t show up!

Yep, that’s it. Refer back to #3 above. In therapy, people don’t show up when they aren’t doing the work. Instead of going through the process of change and facing their lack of commitment to the change process, people don’t show up. Are you that person? If so, I’m here to tell you that you can do it! You really can. It will take work, it will be uncomfortable, but it will be beautiful!

This school of thought works two ways in therapy. One, therapy can be a way of accountability. There are therapy models that call for interventions that will challenge distorted thoughts and/or excuses about reasons that are keeping you from moving forward. The therapist may be able to highlight ways you are keeping yourself stuck in a certain area of your life. The second way accountability works in therapy is the family/couple therapist view the system different from those involved in the interactions on a daily basis because sometimes we are in too deep to be able to see where change can occur. The therapist will be a support for the unit while helping to hold the members accountable for things they said they would do during the session.

Now, let’s address the saints. Galatians 6: 1-3 state, “Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important.

The highlight was verse 2, sharing the burdens, but verse 3 helped us to humble our entire life, “If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important.” Apostle Paul for the WIN! If you want to be someone’s accountability partner remember, it is not your job to condemn them. Accountability partners, help to plan and set goals, uplift, encourage, gently correct, and are cheerleaders.  Lastly, if you are finding it difficult to stay on track, please find your accountability partner in a counselor. This life is difficult and we’re meant to walk this adventure out together.

Peace and Blessings,

Ms. Jackson

P.S. In the interest of staying on topic there was a lot that I felt I left out of the blog post. Please know that it is my sincere prayer that during our biggest times of discouragement when we don’t know HOW to move on to the next step, that we have enough courage to get the help we need. I love you guys. Thank you for reading.

As always the scriptures came from the New Living Translation.

Photo by: Jessica Devnani


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