Current psychological research suggests that we mature as adults by the age of 24. This means that personality sets by the age of 24. In essence, we are who we are, unless we experience a physical or psychological trauma to the brain. Some psychologists support this idea by pointing to the success of personality tests. Although personality tests can be popular with large organisations for recruitment, they can also be misleading and potentially pigeon hole us. The tests do not recognise different aspects to our personalities.
Instead, perhaps it is more useful to think of our personality as a tool box. As we grow up we develop 20 plus tools (reactions, beliefs and behaviours) in the box. However, we also develop an over reliance on two or three of these tools regardless of the situation we find ourselves in. This is a result of our development and the way we learned to interact with our world; relationships, goals, beliefs and attitudes. Unfortunately, we may have the capacity to reflect our reactions were wrong (by experiencing feelings of guilt and shame) but believe we lack the ability to change. Often we lack the awareness to understand that we are hurting ourselves and others.
The goal of therapy is to help you recognise that you are not limited in life to using the same two or three tools for every situation. By exploring and processing your beliefs, behaviours and reactions, you will recognise why an over-reliance on the same two or three tools may have been damaging for you over the years. Also, successful therapy gives you the opportunity to explore the different tools within your toolbox and consider the correct one to use given the situation, and the confidence to use it. You will be able to utilise less used aspects of your personality which are more appropriate for what you want to achieve in life. Your personality may not have changed but your ability to deal positively with your negative reactions, beliefs and behaviours can. Many therapists will offer compelling reasons to invest in their type of therapy. Choose the therapy and therapist you feel speaks to you.