Tuesday, August 2, 2011

I Believe in You

In December I graduated out of my psych program, which means I should be more on top of all things mental than I sometimes am. It's easy to look out, but it's not always easy to look in. Alas, I am human. Anyway, what I loved about this particular program was how unique it was from my prior schools traditional psychology teachings. The program itself was called Mind Body Transformational Psychology. This was the first time I had learned about connecting the mind, body, and spirit in all interactions with a client rather than just looking at the transactions of the mind.

Some of the things we learned were simple. You do not "fix" anyone as no one needs to be fixed. They are not broken. They may not be where they want to be, but they will get there with a little guidance. We weren't there to tell them where to go, what they should do, or why. We were there to listen and to let them discover that they had the answers within them all along. In many instances we were more of a Life Coach than a psychologist, not pointing you down the right path but walking next to you and helping you choose the way for yourself. Instead of saying the traditional psychology type things they would say things like "Interesting, what do you think about what you just said?" or "tell me more". It's hard to explain, but it was really in the way they said it to you that was special.

The whole act of sitting there and listening to someone was about paying attention to them 100%. Being mindful of them the entire time. What they're saying, feeling, what they need or don't need. For example, never before had anyone told me you don't offer someone a tissue. The whole reason you don't offer them a tissue, a hug, a teddy bear, or a blanket, is so that they learn what they need for themselves rather than you thinking you know what they need. Maybe they need to cry and let it all out and by you comforting them you're possibly interfering with a breakthrough. What if you're actually comforting yourself because it can be difficult and uncomfortable to see someone else hurt? As the healer you have to sit and be with them however they are and however they need you to be. If, on the other hand, they ask for a tissue, no problem. They are aware of what they need. That is the goal, after all.

One teacher actually said you should be as up front with your clients as you possibly can. Everyone is human. Everyone has good and bad days and when you have a client on one of your bad days you should be fair to what they need from you and tell them that you can only give them 80% of your best self. Now, that was news to me! I should tell people I'm only 80% there for them? Imagine if the whole world worked like that. I could go to work and tell my boss I'm only good for 35% today, but I'm pretty sure tomorrow will be a 97% day with a chance of topping the 100% range. It would be like a mental weather forecast for all things in your life. No pretending, up front honesty. I like that.

The saying that stuck with me the most is the practice of believing in your client. Let's say I have a client that believes they're not deserving of a better, happier life. I don't have to believe in that same idea, but I do have to believe that they believe that. It's my job to believe that you believe whatever it is you're thinking. Plain and simple. Never before had anyone explained it to me quite like that. I suddenly felt liberated and empowered in a million different ways. If I can help them by just believing in them, then why not focus on the good? Rather than the "I don't/can't/won't" how about the "I will/want/dream of". This is my favorite of all favorite things to focus on. Believing.

It's so easy, just to sit back and believe in anything you want. In anyone. In any idea, place, daydream or goal. To imagine it's all true and possible and, with just the right amount of effort, attainable.

So my friends, next time you are in doubt of yourself or your dreams - stop. Stop doubting and just believe that you're worth it, whatever it may be. Believe that you will find your purpose in life, lose the weight you want, get your dream job, see the world, win the heart of the person you love, or escape the confines of a life you don't want. Believe in all of it and never let anyone tell you any differently.

Think of how people laughed when they were told the world was round or better yet, how electricity was non-existent and thought of as the thing of mad scientists.  No one but the believers of these things would have pursued them, showing everyone that anything is possible.

Treat yourself and your dreams this way - that anything, anything you believe in, is possible. Then hold onto that and make it happen.

I believe in you.

I believe in what you believe.

All you have to do is keep believing.

What do you believe in?

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Mediocre Renaissance Man said...

Excellent post. I've shared this with my followers in Google Reader. I hope they enjoy it as much as I did.

After working with psychologists a few times, I am very familiar with these ideas.

I would like to point out that in the second paragraph, where you said:

Instead of saying the traditional psychology type things they would say things like "interesting, what do you think about what you just said?" or "tell me more".

First of all, periods go inside of quotation marks generally. But I digress.

After having visited with "traditional" psychologists, they actually do use those types of phrases. Traditional psychology is definitely all about being objective, believing that your patient truly believes what they believe, and just listening with 100% of your attention (all of what you've outlined here).

So what you were taught to say is not in contrast with traditional psychology, it is simply psychology. I use it all the time because it helps people communicate better with me, and I gain a deeper, richer understanding of who they are, what they believe, and how I can interact with them effectively.

Again, I love this post. Keep them coming. I'm glad you got into blogging.

Chantelle Says said...

Hello my #1 Comment Leaver (special title just for you... you should be getting a plaque in the mail any day now) :)

You are right. The periods do go outside the quotations. I need to hire an editor. I hate to admit this as a blogger but I despise this thing called proofreading. I'm trying to make friends with it, ask it to go out and get tea with me, but so far we're just not connecting. Anyway...

Those phrases do sound super traditional, you're so very right. I had that same thought, but it was something about the way they said them. It was like I was their long lost daughter and they were peering into the very depths of my soul, really wanting to know, rather than just trying to get past the hour or the class period and on to the next thing. I think that's where the difference lies. Again, proofreading...would've been helpful right about now.

I am very, very glad to hear that the believing piece is common! I never got that at my former school. I got the sense that you analyze, fix, and move on as opposed to letting them realize they have the power to figure it out. So yes, very happy to hear that. Thank you for enlightening me and thank your for sharing!